Addressing federal record retention in mobile device messaging

There are hundreds of US federal government departments and agencies. The majority are subject to Federal Records Act (FRA) and National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) regulations that require them to collect, store, and manage federal records that are created, received, and used in daily operations.

NARA defines federal records as “all recorded information, regardless of form or characteristics, made or received by a Federal agency under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business.” This includes—but is not limited to—instant messages, texts, emails, audio and video recordings, social media content, presentations, reports, photographs, and more.

Virtually all federal, state, and local government agencies must adhere to various data retention and records management policies, regulations, and laws. But, as technology evolves and mobile collaboration becomes routine, making sure records are retained can become difficult. AWS Wickr from Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides federal agencies with an innovative solution that can help them build public trust by protecting sensitive communications, while supporting the capture and management of records.

Data security and retention

AWS Wickr is an end-to-end-encrypted service that allows secure communication and data retention across messaging, voice and video calling, file sharing, and screen sharing. The AWS Wickr Data Retention feature allows organizations to proactively archive communications and metadata to a secure, customer-controlled data store, supporting compliance with legal hold, auditing, and regulatory requirements.

Built natively into the AWS Wickr service, Data Retention offers organizations the ability to deploy an encrypted host within their environment, and configure a data store of their choice to retain all conversations. No one other than the intended recipients has access to content, giving organizations full control over their data.

Federated secure messaging and storage

Qintel, LLC is a leading provider of data analytics and intelligence founded by former government and military intelligence professionals in 2009. When Qintel wanted to facilitate individual and group secure communications while gaining administrative control and bot features to automate threat intelligence and other critical information, they chose AWS Wickr.

“As former employees from federal law enforcement, the intelligence community, and the military, Qintel understands the need for enterprise federated secure communication messaging capabilities. When searching for our company’s messaging application we evaluated the market thoroughly, and while there are some excellent capabilities available, none of them offer the enterprise security and administrative flexibility that Wickr does,” said Bill Schambura, chief executive officer (CEO) of Qintel.

AWS Wickr helps mitigate the risk of prohibited record destruction related to migration errors and device replacement, as well as intentional and unintentional user activity. The ability to configure automated compliance networks in a secure medium—leveraging Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) or another data store—provides strong support for security and data governance objectives.

The record-keeping imperative

Smartphones and other connected devices have become an integral part of doing business. However, texts and consumer-grade messaging services commonly used on mobile devices lack the security and administrative controls needed to protect sensitive business communications while addressing data retention requirements.

In the public sector, government organizations are subject to records requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and various state sunshine statutes. For these organizations, effectively retaining data is about more than supporting security and compliance—it’s about building and maintaining public trust.

Building confidence with AWS Wickr

Laws, regulations, and policies that govern the security and retention of federal records are in place to provide transparency and protect the rights and interests of all citizens. Now more than ever, agencies are seeking to communicate through secure channels, and maintain and preserve those communications. With the security and administrative controls provided by AWS Wickr, agencies can integrate encryption and data retention into records-management processes, and strengthen the trust of the citizens they serve.

Getting started with AWS Wickr

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