Millions of people use cloud-based data services every day– for cloud-based storage to free online email accounts. However, law enforcement has historically taken a “wait-and-see” approach to cloud-based services. Concerns about cost, security, reliability, and accessibility are often the culprits. However, for Records Management Systems (RMS) the benefits quickly outweigh the hurdles. Why should you move your RMS to the cloud? Here are five key reasons.
1) Accessibility of Data and Remote Access
One of the biggest benefits to moving your RMS to the cloud is easy access to data anywhere, anytime, and from any agency-approved device. The flexibility to check vital information or run a critical report remotely is a huge advantage for any officer or first-responder, and will only become more important in the face of growing technological sophistication by many of today’s threat actors. Anytime, anywhere, remote access helps increase officer safety, improve accountability, and reduce desk time– allowing vital paperwork to be completed on-scene in the field.
2) Cost Savings of Technology
Cloud-based storage offers significant cost-savings for public safety agencies by removing the maintenance costs associated with a traditional, on-site RMS systems. Installation costs for on-site servers and associated staff can cost agencies hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Furthermore, given the rapid pace of software and technology, system upgrades to on-site systems can be expensive and disruptive.
Using a RMS system in the cloud ensures that agencies have access to the latest software, all without the expense of on-site servers and the cost of maintaining them.
3) Data Security of Off-Premise Servers
Local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies deal with a lot of sensitive information, so one of the biggest concerns about transitioning to cloud-based services is security. It surprises many to learn that cloud storage systems are generally more secure than local resources. Modern cloud-based services employ the latest security and encryption technologies, as well as physical security at their server locations, and rigid internal policies about what levels of access employees and technical staff have to sensitive data.
The Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Security Policy is the gold-standard for ensuring a vendor is compliant with FBI-CJIS requirements for security of physical servers, networks and employee security. In data security audits, FBI-CJIS-compliant cloud firms tend to outperform agencies with on-site systems when it comes to system security.
4) Real-Time Data Shareability
A huge advantage of a cloud-based RMS is the ability for all parties to have real-time data. No longer having to wait to get back to a desk to file a report, this real-time access saves time and improves efficiency across the department. With the cloud, data is immediately accessible by multiple users on any agency-approved device. In life-or-death situations, the ability to have real-time data and share it with colleagues or other first responders—both nearby and remote—is vital to saving lives.
5) Increased Productivity
The move to cloud-based RMS provides opportunities for increased productivity throughout the agency. When officers are tied to a desk to do their reporting, important tasks and updates can get delayed or put on hold due to other pressing demands of their job. Likewise, with on-site servers, IT professionals will spend a huge percentage of their time managing and maintaining systems.
With cloud-based services, officers can report and search data from the field. IT personnel can focus their efforts on other initiatives. And for other department staff, accessing, moving, sharing, and backing up important data no longer involves the tedious downtime of constant software installations and security patches.