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Cloud Computing and Records Management

written by: Jayant R Row•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 7/7/2010

Records of any organization need to be maintained for their useful life. When in the digital form, additional issues such as availability, security and correctness of data need to be established. With cloud computing, these aspects take a further dimension because of the remoteness of the storage.

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    Records Management and Its Importance

    Data flow The process by which an organization maintains records requires efficient and proper management if these records are to be useful to the organization and its functioning, planning and decision making process.

    Records management would determine the type of information that needs to be considered for records that have a further useful life. It would further determine how this information would be translated into records and the sort of documents that would ensure this collection.

    Every record has a useful life and a good record management system would determine this while creating the record. These periods would depend on regulatory requirements or business and legal needs. Record management would need to implement the latest business processes and technological solutions while gathering and using the data collected so that costs are controlled. Security of the records and their protection is also part of the record management process and a good system would have built in systems that would enable locating expired records and considering them for deletion.

    Image Source: Wikipedia: Data flow

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    Data Management in the Cloud

    Cloud computing offers easy templates for data processing and this leads to the impression that security and authenticity of data may suffer. But there are specialized firms that offer tailor-made solutions that allow you to use cloud computing services with the maximum of security and accuracy.

    Software is now available which caters specifically to cloud storage using REST (representational state transfer) or HTTP interfaces to manage information on storage that has cloud based architecture. These applications would have a modular approach to data management, which offers de-duplication. This is intelligent compression or single instance storage that reduces the storage space required. Such software also uses encryption for moving archive and backup data to long term cloud storage. Data verification and integrated alerting ensures that the data reaches the cloud safely.

    The data deduplication helps to reduce costs by compressing the data by up to 75 percent and thus the data is compressed before it is sent into the cloud.

    Encryption ensures security and is a vital requirement for any administrator in an IT setup. Data verification ensures that data is verified and alerts received in case of discrepancies. This allows the cloud computing user to fearlessly use the stored data for any further processing without having to worry about its accuracy.

    A proper data management plan in the cloud will also allow an administrator to set up access to the data for properly authorized personnel. Users may have only viewing rights, editing rights or rights to use the data for further processing.

    Data quality assurance is another area that needs to be addressed while setting up IT activities in the cloud. This is an area that has a lot of importance where the data is used by multiple users to produce reports or other documents required for planning or decision making.

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    Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Computing for Data Base Management

    Cloud computing offers capacities that are elastic and therefore users do not have to worry about capacities that they have in their own resources. Virtualization also helps them to access a larger number of applications for their data management. Management automation is also more easily possible because of the standardization available on cloud computing platforms.

    One of the disadvantages of cloud computing data management is the cost of data transfer fees. There is also no control over the remote servers and their security aspects. Ultimately the data is with third parties whom you have to trust initially. Only time decides whether that trust is misplaced. If a huge amount of data has to be migrated, third parties may not be able to provide satisfactory service.