Insight by Veritas and Carahsoft

Metadata and careful classification keys to better federal data and records management

What is an official record, how long it should be stored, how retrievable does it need to be, and should it eventually head to the National Archives? Such questions have vexed federal managers for years. Difficult those these question were when all records were paper, now agencies must deal with email, texts, social media posts, spreadsheets, PDFs and, well, you name it.

Besides classifying it properly for storage, agencies need to I.D. it with metadata should a record require retrieval for, say, a Freedom of Information Act request or a legal discovery proceeding.

Luckily federal records people have contemporary tools that can help them classify and organize structured and unstructured data such that they can easily retrieve if needed and avoid unnecessary expenses of online storage.

That’s the topic of this dialogue between Michael Sarich, the FOIA director of the Veterans Health Administration, and David Scott, director of product management at Veritas. They discuss the range of data practices and strategies needed for today’s policy and compliance environment.

Data Management and Strategies

People have 18 ways to communicate [just] on their cell phones. Different things proliferate every day. It’s a challenge for everyone to make sure you can get your hands around all of those communications, control them, and capture the content that’s relevant to make the decisions and for freedom of information act requests.

Data Classification

Focusing on metadata from a FOIA standpoint really enhances the discoverability of it. It’s going to then impact the user experience, the quality of the products, and the policy our agency is going to create and what we’re going to share with our public.

Enriched Metadata Application Strategies

Not all data is created equally. Understanding the data you’re sitting on – is it properly protected? How long do I need to keep it? Maybe no one has touched this file in 10 years. It starts with classification and understanding who’s accessing it and how often. That alone may dictate whether this is a permanent record or a temporary record.

Listen to the full show:

Panel of experts

  • Michael Sarich

    FOIA Director, Veterans Health Administration

  • David Scott

    Director, Product Management, Veritas

  • Tom Temin, Host

    The Federal Drive, Federal News Network

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