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Trusted Systems: Q&A

Internally, we have conversations regarding what topics related to ECM or records management will resonate with our readers. Overwhelmingly, the topic that keeps coming up is trusted systems. While we’ve undoubtedly addressed it multiple times, we thought this Q&A would be helpful. Here’s a video we created. Also, here’s a blog post and an article about blockchain, the technology behind trusted systems. Finally, here is a webinar we did with MISAC and the City of Brea.

What is a trusted system?

The State of California defines a trusted system as “a combination of techniques, policies, and procedures for which there is no plausible scenario in which a document retrieved from or reproduced by the system could differ substantially from the document that is originally stored.” (Source: California Government Code 12168.7(c))  

Why are agencies worrying about trusted systems now?

Agencies wishing to destroy paper documents and rely solely on electronic versions will need a trusted system. A trusted system certifies that electronically stored information (ESI) is an authentic copy of the original document or information.  An agency may choose to eliminate paper due to a lack of storage space and improve the speed and efficiency of processing documents with faster access based on electronic versions of documents.  

Given the ease of manipulating an electronic record, a trusted system is crucial for ensuring that official records are non-alterable. An agency is responsible for ensuring that its records are safe and secure at the minimum, but litigation issues should also be considered. Electronic documents presented in a court of law must be proven authentic to serve as evidence.  

What parties should be responsible for the deployment of a trusted system?

Establishing a trusted system should not rely solely on an agency’s records manager. It requires support from an agency’s management and information technology department. The task requires the involvement of many parties because a trusted system involves not simply putting the proper technology in place but also requiring an organization to document policies and procedures that provide for proper electronic record handling and processing. 

If you want to discuss trusted systems further, please don’t hesitate to give us a shout.



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