Although a federal judge has ordered the White House to backup their emails in compliance with the Federal Records Act, what assurances do we have that the job is getting done? According to one source, the answer is very little.
Having now been forced to maintain adequate controls on electronic records preservation, the White House has tasked the Office of the Administration with the job alongside all assurances to the Judiciary and the American people that they have been "...taking steps to maintain and preserve backup tapes for the official e-mail system."
Putting aside the annoyances that it takes a federal judge to get the Executive Branch to comply with even the most minor oversight, archiving electronic records of such importance requires, to say the least, a well-managed system. With literally millions of emails moving through White House servers, it is not enough to simply hit the 'archive' button on your email client but rather requires an intricate system of both digital and tape storage as well as solid geographical disbursement in order to minimize the risk of loss. That is why these projects are normally outsourced to qualified professional third parties whose primary business is backup.
I have a trustworthy source in the company providing tech support to the Office of the Administration and he is far from impressed:
Like the article mentioned, they're called the executive office of the president. These guys are contractors and you can tell they're new to the job. Everyone we deal with there are a bunch of morons. They have no clue how to administer the unix box that networker (their backup software) is installed on or how to manage their backup media (tapes) or any aspect of what you need to know in order to ensure proper backups. Needless to say they're a bit of a running joke around the office.
Is it really so wrong to expect those running the government to be among the best and brightest of their generation?