President Obama’s CIO has been telling the world and its dog exactly what he inherited when he arrived for his first day on the job.
Brook Colangelo, who became CIO of the Executive Office of President, said he could not believe what the Bush administration was actually using. He initially thought it would be a walk in the park. He delivered the first presidential Blackberry, as well as handhelds to all the top administration officials.
Then he discovered that the email was down nearly a quarter of the time. More than 82 percent of the White House’s technology had reached end of life. There were desktops that still had floppy disk drives.
The White House had one data centre, and if that went down the whole lot crashed. He said six days after the administration was sworn in, the email servers went down for 21 hours and he was about to be shouted at by the Chief of Staff.
Colangelo said the White House technology situation called for a massive review of technology, people and processes.
Over the modernisation process, internet speeds were boosted by over 300 percent and the number of assets at the end of their life was reduced by over half, he told Computer World.
The White House needed to replace much of the technology including the email systems and storage area networks. The White House now has a data recovery data centre for unclassified systems, which includes redundant email servers. It also has its own functioning mobile network.
What might be alarming is that the network was allowed to get into such a state in the first place. Given that it is supposed to be the most secure and advanced network in the world, it seems that the Bush administration starved it of upgrade cash. A few years later it would have made it a doddle for hackers to visit and snoop around.