June 19, 2014
THEY RUN THE PLACE LIKE A GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRACY:
The IRS's E-Mail System Looks Crazy, and Not Only to Republicans (Justin Bachman, June 18, 2014, Businessweek)
Posted by Orrin Judd at June 19, 2014 4:19 PMThe reasons for this e-mail imbroglio stem from what appear to be some peculiar e-mail practices, in an age when data storage costs have dropped. The IRS has Microsoft's (MSFT) Outlook for its 90,000 workers and gives them 500 megabytes of space for mail, or about 6,000 per inbox, up from 150 MB before the summer of 2011. If you reach the limit, the system generates an alert that space needs to be freed up for continued e-mail use. Plenty of U.S. companies have a similar practice.Here's where it seems to get murky: When an IRS employee's e-mail account is full, he or she needs to decide what is an official work record and must be archived, in compliance with the Federal Records Act and other pertinent regulations. The archive is maintained on the employee's computer--not on a corporate server--and is not part of the daily systemwide mail backup, which covers about 170 terabytes of e-mail data the IRS stores at three data centers. Before May 2013, those backups were stored for only six months; the data are now retained, which costs $200,000 per year, the IRS said. "An electronic version of the archived e-mail would not be retained if an employee's hard drive is recycled or if the hard drive crashes and cannot be recovered," the agency said in a June 13 letter to the Senate Finance Committee.