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Digitized data creates storage management and compliance challenges

Organizations are increasingly putting paper documents online, adding to the rapidly growing digital universe and bringing a new set of storage management and compliance challenges.

Many organizations putting paper records online find that once the documents become digital, the most important step is having a good storage management process in place.

That was the message of several users who described their battles in dealing with the storage of paper and digital records during a panel discussion at an EMC Government Forum in Washington, D.C.

Kevin Moore, CIO for the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command (MEPCOM), said his organization manages "a tsunami" of paper. Each year, MEPCOM processes 60 million pieces of paper dealing with 14 million military recruits and potential recruits, each of whom brings around 70 forms to boot camp.

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"We said 'Let's go to an electronic environment and go paperless,' Moore said. "We're creating a pilot using Documentum and Captiva," he said, referring to EMC's content management and document imaging products.

Going paperless was easier said than done. The early attempts only increased redundancy and the time it took to process recruits, Moore said. "We've printed records to paper, only to scan them back in," he said, adding that MEPCOM is now moving from "an archival to a transactional process."

Part of that transition involves processing information online before the potential recruits show up at recruiting centers. "In order to do that, we have to re-engineer our business process," he said.

Tsunamis of paper are everywhere
"We're facing a tsunami too," said Scott Stoval, chief strategy and execution officer of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). "We just don't know how big it is." But Stovall does have some idea. His organization is recreating a digital repository for archived information that will reach petabytes. "We have 26 TB now that will grow to 2.5 PB by 2011 and grow 1 PB a year after that," he said. "That's just the information we know about."

Stoval said going green is a big goal for the agency. Besides reducing the paper trail, the GPO is consolidating servers and virtualizing whatever it can, he said.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) may not be big enough for a tsunami of information, "but we have high tide," said Bryan Burnett, deputy CIO of the NLRB. "Our goal is to link every document to a business process. Today it lives in a file share or folder."

Last December, the NLRB launched a pilot enterprise management system using Documentum, Oracle Siebel and BEA. The goal of theh project, according to Burnett, is to have no hard copies of documents moving through the system during cases.

Records management is getting more attention from storage vendors these days. In May, EMC revealed plans to upgrade Documentum this quarter with the ability to apply policies to multiple data repositories both inside and outside the product. This week CA rolled out an upgrade to CA Records Manager, which is certified by the U.S. Department of Defense against the updated version of the U.S. DOD 5015.2 standard for greater data security and integrity.

In addition, Iron Mountain this week released findings from a survey showing that many businesses are unfamiliar with federal laws that govern the way they dispose of paper records. Only 30% of the survey's respondentsare aware of the Federal Trade Commission's Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) disposal rule governing information shredding.

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