The NSW Police Force will pilot a digital data storage solution to combat risks involved with staff storing sensitive data through email and in shared drives.
The state's law enforcement force - which employs around 20,000 workers - currently has a total storage capacity of 2500TB, of which around 887TB is used for file content storage as opposed to databases.
At the moment, the police force is using its shared drives and email system as the first stop for file storage.
Police upload files into folders assigned to them individually or to work groups in the shared drives - a method which currently lacks a broad data management approach and which can result in sensitive information being stored on portable devices.
In addition, police are also using the force’s Lotus Notes email system as a file exchange facility, which has resulted in large amounts of duplicated files and “which introduced access control risk”.
The NSWPF also runs a handful of systems that are currently able to store digital data, the biggest of which are its VIEW and Forensic Digital Imagery Management systems, as well as a number of shared drives.
The VIEW and FDIM systems contain video, stills and scanned documents used for evidence in police investigations, but are not used as general repositories for digital data that hasn’t yet been analysed.
Similarly, the force’s corporate major investigation system, firstname.lastname@example.org, holds evidentiary material from major crime investigations - but its storage capabilities are limited, and it generally only stores items that appear in final evidence briefs.
According to tender documents, this decentralised approach to data storage has generated increasing demand for space on both systems, which, as the need for space is accommodated, has meant search and access times become slower - not to mention the challenge and expense of managing the storage of the data.
The NSW Police Force’s push to equip its officers with mobile devices to allow access to corporate systems while in the field is also expected to place pressure on its current storage facilities.
As such, the force has approached the market for a first-stop general data storage capability to allow officers and civilian staff to store files in one location.
It will trial the solution will a small group of up to 1500 end users - a result of cost constraints - and does not expect to scale up deployment until December next year, subject to funding and approval.