E-Mail Expert Addresses the White House’s IT Shortcomings

Recent reports from Forrester Research and Secure Computing, an enterprise security firm, find that e-mail security is lacking in organizations of all sizes. No company is immune to the risk workers present when they do not follow security protocols – or worse, when no such measures are in place. This issue is so pervasive it spreads all way to the U.S. government.

The House Oversight Committee currently is investigating what the White House has referred to as "an undefined number of [missing e-mail] messages [from] March through May of 2003," said e-mail expert David Gewirtz.

Gewirtz explores what he calls the government's "worse practice" IT processes in his book, Where Have All the Emails Gone? Earlier this year, however, the White House changed its story on the missing e-mails. In a Jan. 17 press briefing, Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto said, "[We] have no evidence that shows that anything at all is missing."

What's Wrong at the White House?

During the investigation of the White House e-mails, a number of its IT practices have come to light – and some people are worried. A March New York Times editorial stated, "The threat to the nation's historical record is severe."

Shortly before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the White House decided to switch from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange. It has pointed to this migration a possible source of confusion about the location of e-mails.

Another possible cause for misunderstanding is many of the White House staffers' messages…


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