Government email archives take to the cloud

By Sonian
In Channel
June 6, 2013

Lindsey Framer / Sonian

There's an increasing push in federal and state legislatures to move public records management tools to the cloud. Email archiving assets are among the most highly talked-about services at the moment, with some calling previous administrations into question regarding personal email accounts, while other federal offices move to make their operations even more open and searchable. With the vast amount of correspondence that federal agencies engage in on a daily basis, having an online database for managing and securing these resources is essential.

Government Technology wrote that this was a major impetus for moving the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to cloud email archiving. The source stated that all of NARA's 5,300 email accounts have been moved to a cloud service, allowing messages to be automatically logged, stored and recalled later. These users represent the active employees at NARA, meaning that all of their transmissions will be saved for future review and recordkeeping. Apart from serving as a substantial addition to compliance adherence, this service also allows for more government transparency, something that other offices at that level of authority are trying to establish as well.

Government accounting issues
CBS News wrote that President Barack Obama's Cabinet members have been called into question regarding their email archive techniques. The source stated that some individuals in the President's Cabinet have been carrying out administrative activities in secret email accounts, profiles that are not being logged as part of public record or that could be considered privately owned resources. Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a news conference that, while cabinet members are provided with multiple email accounts, none of these IDs is private or secret, and that all the correspondence carried out therein are logged to federal email resources. As more of these offices move to cloud email archiving, the records in these secondary accounts will therefore move to the same archive tools.

The news outlet noted that Carney tried to make a distinction between the Obama administration and the practices of former President George W. Bush's, wherein the previous leader's cabinet did create private email accounts to avoid archive requirements. In terms of email archiving compliance, this is a major gaffe that private entities must be careful to avoid themselves. By carrying out business activities in a non-corporate account, these files are not searchable later as part of an eDiscovery or data inquiry, so while companies may have access to these records themselves, failing to place them in a business cloud email archive could result in significant compliance issues.

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