Michigan Moves Historical Archives into the Cloud

When you think about all of the data a state government must retain, using traditional means to store the data can be both costly and difficult to access. As state governments look for options to help them save their taxpayers money, the state of Michigan decided to adopt a public cloud storage solution to help store archived data. Information such as public records, elections results and more has been moved into this solution. Since all of the data is stored virtually in the cloud, residents of Michigan no longer have to request paper copies of data nor do they have to Lansing in order to fetch records from the archives themselves. Residents can simply request data from the cloud.

Michigan began the push to cloud in 2012. With the assistance of a British firm named Tessella, the state plans on allowing access to the data on April 30th. Tessella is well known for their Preservica technology, which specializes in preserving documents and moving them into the cloud.

Another key feature of Michigan’s cloud solution is the fact that much of the new data does not come in the same format as old data. For example, election documentation from the 1970s is just a paper document which has been scanned in as a PDF. New documentation may already be prepared in the PDF format. Using the cloud also gives administrators the flexibility to store a variety of data formats and this is crucial because most of the state’s data is now electronic versus the archived data which was on paper and stored in filing cabinets. Caryn Wojcik works for Michigan’s archives division and she mentions, “As we convert traditional records to digital formats, we are making case-by-case decisions about whether to store the digital version in Preservica.”

The state of Michigan will save a tremendous amount of money using the cloud to perform archives. While the budget for the archives department is $850,000, the cloud storage solution will only take up $13,000 of the budget. Analysts believe that other state governments will soon follow Michigan’s lead in becoming cloud-first as it relates to historical archives.