M-12-18 Compliance: Where Does Your Federal Agency Stand?

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MEMORANDUM M-12-18, MANAGING GOVERNMENT RECORDS DIRECTIVE, FROM THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (OMB) AND THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES RECORDS ADMINISTRATION (NARA) REQUIRES FEDERAL AGENCIES TO ELIMINATE PAPER AND USE ELECTRONIC RECORD KEEPING “TO THE FULLEST EXTENT POSSIBLE” BY DECEMBER 2019.

Beyond e-mail correspondence, M-12-18 mandates the permanent electronic management of records such as Microsoft Word documents, PDFs, traditional SMS texts, encrypted communications, messaging apps and even direct messages on social media platforms. Despite another two years until the Directive’s final compliance deadline, federal agencies have their work cut out for them. Where does your agency stand?

AT THE STARTING LINE

Using scanning technology to merely digitize documents is not enough. A recent article in the Bulletin of the Association for Information Science and Technology labeled the content services (CS) system as “the cornerstone of a modern records management program” when it comes to compliance with the Directive. A content services system, such as Microsoft SharePoint, allows users to capture information, as well as manage access to specific documents and records.

COMPLETE THE CIRCUIT

Federal agencies that have already moved their documents to digital content services must ensure they see the process through to the end. A comprehensive document retention and disposition policy is a critical book-end to digital content services and should include storing, tagging and retrieving data, as well as disposition.

Once these policies are documented, agencies can work within their solution to build those policies into the system and, in some cases automate them. For agencies whose solution does not have built-in policies, or if your agency needs a more robust solution to policy management, there are a number of third-party solutions that will integrate seamlessly.

FINISH LINE AHEAD

Having a plan in place to meet the 2019 deadline is a must for federal agencies. Measures taken today shouldn’t just ensure compliance with the mandate, but should also look toward an increasingly digital future to ensure secure and efficient access to official documents going forward.