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Connecting Federal Mandates With Cloud-Based Records-As-A Service

By John Bellegarde
Mar 26 2015



Paul Giles and Tim Shinkle presented to a packed house at the annual Microsoft UP Public Sector Federal Executive Forum 2015 on how Gimmal’s Records-as-a-Service for the Microsoft Government Azure Cloud will help federal agencies meet the forthcoming compliance mandates being put forward by the Office of Management and Budget (OMG) and National Archives and Records Administration.

Paul discussed that by December 31, 2016, OMB/NARA mandates that Federal agencies must manage all email records in an electronic format. By December 31, 2019 OMB/NARA will mandate that all permanent electronic records in Federal agencies will be managed electronically to the fullest extent possible for eventual transfer and accessioning by NARA in an electronic format. These are mandates will not be funded and many agencies are struggling to comply due to flat budgets.

Already, the NARA cloud-fist directive has gone into effect, with government agencies required to determine the feasibility of developing cloud-based solutions to manage unclassified electronic records. An annual reporting requirement is in place for new cloud initiatives, including a description of how each new initiative meets Federal Records Act obligations and the goals outlined in this directive.

What is the best path to meet these unfunded mandates? The cloud.
Gimmal Records as a Service (RaaS) for the Microsoft Government Cloud delivers a rich, scalable, low-cost compliance and governance framework in the Microsoft Cloud. This unique Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Azure-based solution offers public sector organizations a Department of Defense 5015.2 certified environment.
Paul suggested that agencies combine their cloud and records management mandates together as a way of solving both problems. The retention requirements in the records mandates dictate that the storage requirements will go up as new content enters the new system and down again in the future, as documents reach their end of live and are deleted. The inherent elasticity of the cloud, where you only are charged for the storage you use, allows federal agencies to comply at the lowest cost, reducing their storage footprint as they dispose of documents.
Paul then introduced the concept of Transitory Records as a Service or (TRaaSh) as another way to help fund the records mandate. Studies show that only about 5% of an agencies content are a records, with the remaining 95% being active documents and etrash (duplicate, obsolete, or trivial content). If agencies store their non-essential content in the cloud, it cleans up their core records environment, and moves the less valued content off of expensive hardware and in to a much lower cost storage environment. Cost savings in turn can be repurposed to help pay for an agencies unfunded compliance mandate.

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