Tuesday, September 08, 2015

How Cloud Storage can address the needs of public archives in the UK

How Cloud Storage can address the needs of public archives in the UK. Second Edition, March 2015 with updated case studies Neil Beagrie, Andrew Charlesworth, and Paul Miller. March 2015.
     The use of cloud storage in digital preservation is a rapidly evolving field. This paper looks at how it is developing, what the options are, and the practices, requirements and standards that archives
should consider. It examines case studies of five UK archives and how they use cloud storage solutions. Digital preservation is a significant issue and there is an increasing demand for
archival storage. The need is not a one time purchase since content will continue to expand. The paper contains:
  • General overview of key areas, definitions, and issues;
  • A Step by Step Guide of creating a business case and important options;
  • Future developments of cloud storage over the next few years;
  • Current Good Practices to follow;
  • Case studies of UK archives that have implemented cloud solutions with detailed of their organization, requirements and approaches.
  • Sources for additional advice and guidance
  • A Table of legal issues to be aware of with cloud storage.
There are many cloud storage providers that can provide storage, but Archives typically have additional requirements beyond the simple availability of a place to store data files, such as data protection, personally identifiable information, concern for risk and data loss, and longer storage requirements. "Generic providers of cloud services, such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft and others, do not typically address specific archival considerations within their basic offerings." There are some specialist providers that address more of the needs of archives.

There are some advantages to cloud storage:
  • potential cost savings from easier procurement and economies of scale, particularly for smaller archives
  • automated replication to multiple locations and access to professional managed digital storage
  • ability to add other dedicated tools, procedures,workflow and service agreements, tailored for digital preservation requirements
  • As digital preservation becomes more of a strategic interest, cloud may be a component of required solutions and enable wider participation and collaboration.
"Balanced against these areas of potential and promise however, there are areas where significant issues need to be understood by archives and addressed, particularly in terms of information security and potential legal requirements." The larger public cloud service providers invest "significant sums in ensuring the physical security of their data centre buildings". They also employ teams of
dedicated IT security staff ensuring the safety and security of the data. There are also legal issues which must be understood.

When considering cloud storage, it is important to be aware of three key items:
  1. data held in archives must be expected to be both preserved and accessible beyond the commercial lifespan of any current technology or service provider;
  2. an approach to addressing serious risks, such as loss, destruction or corruption of data that is based purely on financial compensation will not be acceptable, as this takes no meaningful account ofthe preservation and custodial role of archives; 
  3. there must be an explicit provision must be made for pre-defined exit strategies (e.g. synchronising content across two cloud service providers or with local internal storage, and effective monitoring and audit procedures.
There is also an increasing number of community cloud storage, which tailored specifically for a particular group of users.

2 comments:

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Jade Graham said...

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