Survey Highlights Need for Improved Confidence, Lower Risk in How Agencies Manage Records
85 percent of Federal employees surveyed are not fully convinced records practices are meeting their agency’s needs
BOSTON – May 12, 2015 – Federal employees’ faith in appropriate records management practices is lacking as a result of deficiencies in training, awareness and resources, according to a new survey from Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE:IRM), a leading provider of storage and information management services. The purpose of the study was to identify the current state of records and information management confidence levels among key federal managers, including records professionals and Lines of Business (LOB) management. Chief amongst the findings of the survey is that 85 percent of federal employees surveyed said they are not fully convinced current records management practices are meeting the needs of their agency.
The enactment of the Presidential Directive on Managing Government Records has set federal agencies on a journey to overhaul and modernize their records management programs and practices. With an increased emphasis on establishing clear modernization efforts, better integration of records management and IT professionals, as well as jump starting capabilities associated with the collection, handling, protection and retention of records, there are significant opportunities for improvement. These changes, however, have been slow to take hold, as evidenced by the survey: Only 33 percent of respondents were very confident their records are not at risk, and only 41 percent believe they could access their critical information in the event of a disaster.
“This survey provides important insights into the mindset of federal employees when it comes to confidence, risk, compliance and awareness issues surrounding records management,” said Tyler Morris, Director, Product Management for Iron Mountain Government Services. “The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have made great strides in providing needed records management oversight, but much still needs to be done to close the confidence gap at the agency level. Agencies need to look at their overall information management posture and consider what changes they need to make to further the adoption of an enterprise-wide strategy to better their information’s security, governance, access and value.”
Surveying Records Officers, Records Liaison Officers and LOB Managers at federal agencies, the survey highlights a number of areas in which federal records management practices have room to improve, including:
- Closing the training gap – Only 39 percent report all employees receive formal training that helps them appropriately manage records in their immediate control, while 17 percent have not received any training at all;
- Increasing internal engagement – Just 58 percent of LOB Managers could identify their Records Liaison Officer, and 27 percent never engage with them on policies or practices for records management;
- Creating more tools, more confidence – Only 28 percent of total respondents feel they have the necessary tools and procedures in place to comply with the regulations governing information for federal agencies;
- Getting the right people involved – One-quarter of records management professionals surveyed are not involved in creating internal records process controls for their agencies, with the number rising to 40 percent for LOB Managers.
The survey also identified areas where, when properly applied, records management training, policy and procedures can make an impact for federal agencies, including:
- When taken, training does work – An overwhelming number of respondents believe the records and information management they received to be impactful, with 98 percent of respondents rating it as “somewhat” or “very effective”;
- The mission is clear – Asked to name the biggest benefits from improved training and awareness on records and information management policies, respondents cited minimizing the legal/financial risk of non-compliance (49 percent), quicker response to information requests and audits (47 percent), and better disaster preparedness (47 percent).
“Agencies have the opportunity to turn information into an asset to enhance decision-making, lower risk and maximize investments,” Morris added. “By adopting a formal information governance model, agencies can build a comprehensive strategy for information asset lifecycle management, take control of their information as well as continue to improve their records and information management risk profile.”
Conducted by market research company, Market Connections, Inc., this blind survey of 150 federal employees included only respondents knowledgeable and involved in their organization’s records and data management processes. Respondent agencies were nearly split between civilian government (51 percent) and the Department of Defense (49 percent). For more information, including additional survey results and associated infographic, visit www.ironmountain.com/federalrecordsatrisk.
About Iron Mountain
Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE: IRM) is a leading provider of storage and information management services. The company’s real estate network of over 67 million square feet across more than 1,000 facilities in 36 countries allows it to serve customers around the world. And its solutions for records management, data management, document management and secure shredding help organizations to lower storage costs, comply with regulations, recover from disaster, and better use their information. Founded in 1951, Iron Mountain stores and protects billions of information assets, including business documents, backup tapes, electronic files and medical data. Visit www.ironmountain.com for more information.