Thursday, November 15, 2012

Working Smarter: General Petraeus and Your Email Accounts

General Petraeus, a man with a Phd, an extensive and distinguished military career and chief of the Central Intelligence Agency has fallen on his sword for reasons including his email account management. 

He resigned apparently because during an investigation involving his email accounts, details he had had an "affair" emerged. An affair is code for an illicit relationship. As a married man, when caught out, he thought he should do the honorable thing and resign. Had he not been caught out, who knows what might have happened; the affair may have continued or it may have faded out when either or both parties became tired of the secrecy and clandestine manner in which they had to pursue their relationship (presumably).

General Petraeus isn't the first person to run into a problem created by illicit affairs. Remember the Clinton affair, with a very junior member of the US Government. When I served in the police force, we were told that the three things that bring police officers unstuck were PP and P (for the purpose of this blog let's refer to them as alcohol, women and property. It was true because several of my colleagues lost their jobs for reasons associated with one or all of the three.

What does this have to do with Business email?

Like the separation of church and state, there is a principle that should be applied in business; separate your business affairs from your personal affairs. This is especially true when dealing with financial matters.

In the General's case, he apparently had an official CIA email address and a Gmail address. If I had been doing something I didn't want others to find out about, I would have a third email address with a name that had no association with me ... Only those whom I wanted to know the address would have access, in this case, the person with whom I was dilly-dallying.

While Gmail staff would know who held the account, I don't expect they would have spread the word across the Northern Hemisphere.

If you are running a business, don't give your business email address for personal purposes and vice versa. If you plan to communicate about highly confidential matters in business, use one of the available encryption programs to stop people from "eavesdropping".

Email is a great tool if used properly. If not, as General Petraeus found, it can be a disaster.

Happy emailing.


1 comment:

  1. This post is a day later than usual, hope it hasn't caused any inconvenience.


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