Prepare Your Government Agency for NARA Regulation Changes

NARA compliance

The impending June 30, 2024, M-23-07 NARA regulations mark a turning point in how government agencies handle records management. By that date, agencies must electronically manage all temporary records or store them in NARA-compliant facilities. It’s clear why this shift is so important for our government agencies — between January and November 2023 alone, over 22 million data records were exposed in online breaches of U.S. government organizations.

Augusta Data Storage, Georgia’s only NARA-compliant facility, is ready to help your agency navigate this change. Plus, we can help you ensure compliance and enhance transparency and accountability along the way. To help you prepare, we’re exploring practical strategies for navigating these regulations, offering tips on document management, and providing general records management guidance.

Navigating the Upcoming NARA Regulation Changes

The upcoming NARA regulations will revolutionize the way government agencies handle records management. Agencies of all levels will need to make significant adjustments to comply. To succeed, it’s important to understand your current record-keeping practices and the requirements in M-23-07.

Understanding the Mandate

The June 30, 2024, M-23-07 mandate requires federal agencies to:

  1. Manage Temporary Records Electronically OR in a NARA-Compliant Facility: Ensure that all temporary records are maintained in electronic formats, OR store temporary analog records in commercial storage facilities that meet NARA’s record-keeping standards.
  2. Manage ALL Permanent Records Electronically: By June 30, 2024, all permanent records in Federal agencies must be managed electronically to the fullest extent possible for eventual transfer and accessioning by NARA.

Compliance with M-23-07 is important for maintaining the integrity and accessibility of government records. It ensures legal accountability, operational efficiency, and transparency, fostering public trust.

Your Steps to Compliance

To comply with the M-23-07 mandate, it’s important to follow these key steps to meet the June 30, 2024 deadline:

Understand Your Records

Under the new regulation, temporary and permanent records have different requirements. Make sure you understand which documents fall under which category and where they are currently stored.

Here are some guidelines from NARA to help:

  • Temporary Records: About 95% to 98% of federal records are temporary. They document routine agency activities and include documents used to support financial, legal, and operational work. You must retain them according to the NARA-approved records retention schedule, which can be anywhere from a few months to many years.
  • Under new regulations, temporary records can be stored electronically OR at a NARA-certified commercial storage facility, like Augusta Data Storage. Temporary analog records that become eligible for transfer after June 30, 2024 must be transferred to commercial storage facilities that meet NARA records storage requirements.
  • Permanent Records: Permanent records have additional, enduring historical or informational value. They document key decisions, actions, events, organizations, and policies. Your agency retains them and then transfers them to the National Archives after a specific period of time (usually 15 to 20 years).
  • Under new regulations, all permanent records must be managed electronically, even if they have not yet met the age requirement for transfer to NARA. After June 30, 2024, all agencies must transfer permanent records to NARA in electronic formats and with appropriate metadata in accordance with NARA regulations and transfer guidance.

Develop a Plan

Based on your understanding of your records and their storage locations, develop a plan to meet M-23-07 requirements. Decide which records to manage electronically and which to store in commercial facilities.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • If you have temporary analog records, you will need to store them in an approved commercial facility or convert them to digital records. Have you identified a NARA-certified facility in your state, or will you convert them?
  • If you have permanent records, do you have the necessary capabilities to manage them electronically? Do you need to invest in new technology or training for your staff?
  • Transferring records requires including metadata, which involves a more complex process than simply scanning documents with an office scanner. How will you ensure proper metadata is included with transferred records?

Digitize Analog Records

After June 30, 2024, you must digitize analog records or house them in NARA-compliant facilities. To meet this requirement, agencies should:

  • Prioritize the digitization of temporary analog records.
  • Implement robust digitization processes to ensure accuracy and integrity.
  • Utilize high-quality scanning equipment and software, or a professional document imaging service provider, to convert paper documents into searchable electronic files.

Partner with a NARA-Compliant Facility

For storing analog records, your agency must select a NARA-compliant facility like Augusta Data Storage. Augusta Data Storage fully complies with NARA regulations and has the processes and technology in place to ensure accurate maintenance and accessibility of your records when needed.With our records management services, you get:

  • 24-hour on-site security measures to protect sensitive information.
  • Climate-controlled environments to preserve the integrity of physical records.
  • Expertise in managing large volumes of records and ensuring compliance with federal regulations.
  • Over 25 years of experience providing records management solutions to government agencies.

General Records Management Guidance

In addition to complying with M-23-07, all federal agencies should follow general records management guidance provided by NARA. This includes:

  • Records Management Training: Make sure all employees who handle records receive proper training in managing and disposing of them.
  • Electronic Records Management: Develop a comprehensive strategy for creating, managing, preserving, and disposing of electronic records.
  • Records Disposition: Follow approved records retention schedules to ensure timely destruction or transfer of temporary records and proper transfer of permanent records to NARA.
  • Secure Destruction:  Properly dispose of records containing sensitive information to prevent data breaches.
  • Continuous Monitoring: Regularly review and update your records management processes to stay compliant with regulations and best practices.

By following these guidelines, you can effectively manage your agency’s records while meeting NARA requirements for electronic record keeping. Complying with M-23-07 is crucial for maintaining government record integrity and accessibility and fostering transparency, accountability, and public trust.

Get Ready with Augusta Data Storage

As the June 30, 2024, deadline approaches, government agencies must take proactive steps to comply with M-23-07 NARA regulations. By conducting thorough records inventories, digitizing analog records, and partnering with NARA-compliant facilities like Augusta Data Storage, agencies can ensure smooth transitions and maintain high standards of transparency and accountability.

Get your government agency ready now with help from Augusta Data Storage. Get in contact with us today to learn more about our secure and compliant records management solutions.