National Security Copy Field Test
Between January and May 2021, a project team led by the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers (ALGAO UK) tested the procedure for taking a security copy of Local Authority Historic Environment (HER) data. The aim of this field test was to explore the process for copying, transferring, and checking the National Security Copy (NSC).
The NSC refers to two types of copying: the first, is the routine backing-up of data that HERs do on a regular basis and which is documented in their Data Management Statement; the second, is a complete copy of HER data that is stored temporarily with a third-party in the unusual event that there is a threat to the data's security - this procedure is set out in the Access Protocol.
The 2021 field test focussed on the process of taking this second copy and trialled 5 transfers between HERs with different profiles (i.e. different software, service provisions, etc). While most of the tests were successful, there were suggestions on how the process and documentation could be updated. These recommendations are being taken forward by Historic England.
HIAS Principle 7 states that Historic England should ensure that there is a security copy of historic environment data. Testing the mechanism for capturing this data in the exceptional circumstance that it is at risk, is an important step for securing heritage data for the nation.