Archive in the cloudJanuary 7 - 8am
Storage is among the primary drivers for companies looking to move into the cloud.
That’s especially the case in the large enterprise and the local public sectors, where storage requirements are driven by document management and compliance requirements.
There can be significant economic efficiencies realised by establishing cloud archiving solutions for document management.
What many organisations don’t necessarily recognise, is that there are potential additional benefits. These include data privacy and security, compliance, business intelligence and overall information governance improvements.
With regard to archival document management, topics like identification and accurate tagging, accessibility and legal preservation are more relevant than security and reliability.
There are potential risks if an entity does not adequately consider information governance implications, especially those involving electronic discovery, when archiving to the cloud.
One of the biggest challenges is that traditionally, two distinctly different groups have been responsible for A) backing up and B)archiving documents. As a consequence, those looking to implement cloud archiving are forced to consider at two different tools or processes to manage each discipline.
However, the future of cloud document management can only be achieved by solutions which effectively combine both processes.
Considerations for how data is moved into the cloud and accounted for include:
▪ What process is used to move data?
▪ Does data migration change the metadata or content in any way?
▪ Can the chain of custody for the data be established?
▪ What is the physical location of my data and who has access?
▪ Does the data stay in one place or is it moved, such as during maintenance?
▪ How is data preserved and is there legal hold and review capability in the event of an ediscovery request? and
▪ What other companies have data co- located; are they subjected to regulations or intense auditing that could impact my data?
It is necessary to play an active role in setting both data retention and destruction policies by working closely with the service provider.
Data collection can often pose the trickiest challenge. Legal counsel will want to understand what the collection process entails. CIOs and infrastructure managers must consider if they can make tools available to cull down data prior to collection – or if all data must be collected and then processed internally.
Is it important to understand the format of the collected data and how, if at all, the authenticity of the data will be affected by the collection process.
Will metadata be altered as a result or will the cloud provider be able to demonstrate that the data has been maintained in its original, unaltered state if required?
These considerations can be more easily answered through an integrated back-up and archive policy. With integrated solutions, cloud based data and document management spans everything from tier-one disk to lower-cost tiers, without impact on governance requirements.
In the public sector, these advantages can be taken to another level by implementing shared services agreements for document management, using combined back-up and archiving functionality.
Wanganui district council, for example, has used this approach support a local Authorities Shared Services (lASS) government client services group. It now has a collaborative central archive domain and disaster recovery centre serving several neighbouring districts.
When applied on larger scales, cloud archiving can bring considerable efficiency gains. However these benefits can only be realised with an initial comprehensive and exhaustive analysis of the underlying processes and architectures.