NARA to strengthen network resiliency following Hurricane Ida outage

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The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is working to strengthen its network resiliency following a two-week outage of its electronic records archives (ERA) caused by flooding from Hurricane Ida.

In a memo to staff, Chief Records Officer Lawrence Brewer said the department was reviewing necessary changes to the department’s IT infrastructure, which could include work to increase network redundancy.

“As many of you are aware, the ERA suffered a sustained connectivity failure due to flooding on the East Coast as a result of Hurricane Ida,” said Brewer. “While the outage has been resolved, we are seeking to avoid future sustained outages by strengthening our connectivity.”

It comes after NARA’s electronic records archives program went offline for nearly two weeks earlier this month following flooding from the storm along the East Coast. The period of downtime came just ahead of the agency’s yearly process through which it takes custody of permanent records from federal agencies.

The outage made the system unavailable to agencies for records scheduling, transfer requests, and annual move actions.

As part of the annual move, NARA pre-loads specific record transfer requests from agencies into the ERA system. It could not immediately be established whether the department remains on track to hit its Oct.1 deadline to load all record transfer requests into the platform.

“Due to this interruption, no schedules have been sent forward for approval by the archivist since the outage occurred. Approval of schedules will re-commence the week of September 20,” Brewer added in his message to staff, saying that the department would work hard to remain on schedule.

Hurricane Ida made landfall Aug. 30 as a highly dangerous Category 4 hurricane. After knocking out power and infrastructure in cities on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, including New Orleans, it brought tornadoes and heavy rains to the Mid-Atlantic and East Coast. In New York City the storm caused flash floods and killed 45 people.

NARA did not provide further comment on delays caused by the outage.

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Electronic Records Archives, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), New York City
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