Security backups of electronic files (e-mails, spreadsheets, documents, etc.) that document the business of North Carolina government are public records. Like all public records, security backups may not be destroyed without guidance from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, which can be found in Security Backup Files as Public Records in North Carolina: Guidelines for the Recycling, Destruction, Erasure, and Re-use of Security Backup Files.
All government agencies should have a written security backup plan that documents:
- The backup procedure employed for each records series appropriate to that records series’ organizational value and vulnerability. In the security backup plan, the agency describes each backup procedure and the records to which the backup procedure applies.
- The minimum acceptable capability of recovery for each record series. The higher the granularity (the frequency with which backup files are made) and the longer the duration (the length of time the backup files are kept), the greater the capability for recovery. Thus, the agency backs up records with higher value more frequently and retains the backup files longer, than it does with records with low value.
- The periodic verification that files and/or systems can be restored from the backup media.
Government agencies may arrange special procedures for security backup files of their essential records, such as the creation of duplicate security backup files and storage of the duplicates in an off-site location.
Security backup files enable restoration of electronic files after a disaster, or after the accidental deletion of a single file. Security backup files and a security backup plan are critically important to the management of public records.