You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Editorial: County not prepared to create IT department
Guest EditorialJune 26, 2013 | 1,339 views | 1 comment
By Brenna Presnall
The June 20 special meeting of commissioners court was disappointing. My goal in attending was to share my professional advice in regards to creating an IT department.
I wanted to hear their plans on how they were to approach the implementation of their new IT department, and provide suggestions. A free consultation if you will. This is my county, my community, and I want to see it succeed, not fail.
However, it seemed I was written off before I had a chance to speak. I was dismissed almost immediately. I am not a politician; I speak directly, and to the point. I attempt to be polite although I do not agree.
My motive was not to attack the commissioners court, but to address issues where they lack the knowledge to proceed. I don’t expect them to be IT experts, but I expect them to research what it takes to create and maintain an IT department. They did not.
They made a rash decision to budget for one IT department employee at the rate of $65,000 a year with county benefits. They did not discuss requirements for the employee or the department. They did not discuss IT infrastructure costs, how oversight would be implemented, nor did they discuss maintaining the integrity of the systems.
In order to maintain a successful IT department, the county needs to establish requirements.
•What is your end goal for installing fiber between all the county buildings? Is it your goal to have all buildings on one internal network? How? And how do you plan to migrate the current environment? Will one building house a server farm that will manage all the other buildings printers, desktops, and mail services? Do you have the space, power, a/c, to accommodate? Do you currently have the equipment for each building for the fiber you plan to install?
They will need a termination point in each building, and if you currently do not use fiber in your facilities, you will have to purchase that equipment. Will one person be able to do this job alone? How much will it cost to run the fiber? Will the fiber runs have secondary lines for redundancy? How many roads will have to be torn up to run the lines under the ground? Fiber is a flimsy glass material, and will have to be protected; will you ensure that conduit is run from each building as well? Are the costs not rising?
•Once the IT infrastructure is finished and the county buildings rehabbed, what are the functions of the new single-person IT department? Will he maintain firewalls, routers, switches, mail servers, web servers, database servers, desktops, and printers, to include vulnerability patching, for each and every IT system the county owns? Will he provide asset management? Will he maintain lifecycle management, disaster recovery, and high performance of the IT systems alone? Will he have a cell phone issued, a personal desk, network tools, and hardware tools for servers and PCs, software tools to monitor the servers and systems to ensure they are online? And software to help him manage all system patching? Will the county pay for extended warranties for hardware or replace existing? Will the county pay for Microsoft premier support, Dell hardware, HP, Apple support, or whatever flavor they own if a system fails, and the single IT department employee cannot fix the systems in a timely manner, and needs assistance elsewhere? Will he provide diagrams for the network, and maintain them? Will he build all of this alone? Will he ensure all legal software rights are maintained, ensure the county systems are free from pirated software to avoid being sued?
•What are your IT security requirements? Who will audit your systems? Will your single-employee IT department require a background investigation? How much will that cost? Do you currently have baseline images of systems for security purposes? Will he have to create those? Will he have the necessary tools to do so? Is your Internet connection secure? Will personal identifiable information be safeguarded? Will your employee’s information be required to be safeguarded? How do you plan to implement that to include checks and balances with one IT department employee?
•Where is your fallback plan? What if your one IT department member quits, but sabotages your IT systems before he leaves? How much will that cost to hire someone to repair them immediately? What if he steals personally identifiable information or other proprietary information from the county? How will you know?
Can we afford the lawsuits that will follow? What happens if your one IT department employee goes on vacation, and can’t be reached if services are down? Will you hire an outside source while he is gone?
None of these questions were addressed, and these are only a handful of the many items that need to be addressed before moving forward with an IT department. I suggested requesting proposals from multiple IT consulting companies, and was told by the county auditor simply that they are unhappy with the service from their current contractors.
I’m not suggesting hiring contractors to do the job. I am suggesting hiring consultants to plan your IT department. Listen to the advice they have to offer, and go with what best fits our needs.
At this time the county is not prepared to handle creating an IT department on their own. Simply put, you waste more money when you don’t have a full understanding of what your needs entail.
Yes, judge, you answered my question. You are not aware at all of the costs to maintain your own IT department. I ask that all constituents request the county to send out a request for proposals from multiple IT consulting firms, so we as taxpayers and voters have the best and most cost-effective solution for what the county is requesting.
Presnall is an IT professional and resident of Wilson County.
Your Opinions and Comments
The Marcelina Muse
Dry Tank, TX
June 27, 2013 1:10pm
Share your comment or opinion on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Section A: General News Archives
Agencies nab 7 in human-trafficking sting (February 10, 2016)
Apply now for Miss La Vernia Pageant (February 10, 2016)
Behind the lens: Hitting the trail (February 10, 2016)
BPA students advance to state (February 10, 2016)
Bud Box ends two-decade career at alternative school (February 10, 2016)
Chamber to hold monthly luncheon (February 10, 2016)
China Grove mayor, police chief clash (February 10, 2016)
Commissioners amend Kicaster-area fire coverage plan (February 10, 2016)
Court Update (February 10, 2016)
Dating and the budget (February 10, 2016)
Donate blood to save lives (February 10, 2016)
Editorial: It’s about ‘We the People’ … what will ‘we’ do? (February 10, 2016)
Editorial: National election: Iowa down, New Hampshire to go (February 10, 2016)
Firefighters plan Pancake Breakfast (February 10, 2016)
Floresville mayor to councilman: Sit down or else (February 10, 2016)
Floresville park’s erosion problems prompt action (February 10, 2016)
Free heart health screenings (February 10, 2016)
H-E-B ice cream recall (February 10, 2016)
La Vernia trustees consider $33.2M bond, approve new finance chief (February 10, 2016)
Lean meat still part of a heart-healthy diet (February 10, 2016)
Letter: House fire victim extends gratitude (February 10, 2016)
Letter: Pastors should keep out of politics, stay in church (February 10, 2016)
Letter: Unruly government needs discipline (February 10, 2016)
Letter: Writer says it’s okay to ignore the charter (February 10, 2016)
Meeting Watch: Evergreen Underground Water Conservation District (February 10, 2016)
Meeting Watch: Floresville Planning & Zoning Commission (February 10, 2016)
Meeting Watch: St. Hedwig City Council (February 10, 2016)
Oil, gas leasing workshop Feb. 22 (February 10, 2016)
One-stop tax shop? (February 10, 2016)
Petition supporters plan protest rally (February 10, 2016)
Police Blotter (February 10, 2016)
Presidents’ Day office closures (February 10, 2016)
Register for Great American Cleanup (February 10, 2016)
Save the date for ‘Hope in High Cotton’ (February 10, 2016)
Should Christians support sanctuary for illegal aliens? (February 10, 2016)
Stockdale supports apartment venture (February 10, 2016)
Things are looking up in downtown Stockdale (February 10, 2016)
‘Official oppression’ or ‘criminal trespass’? (February 10, 2016)
Agencies uncover $400K in stolen vehicles, parts (February 3, 2016)
China Grove begins vote on tax rollback (February 3, 2016)
Clock running out for Floresville recall issue (February 3, 2016)
Connally expands high-tech health care (February 3, 2016)
Council action changes boards (February 3, 2016)
Court Update (February 3, 2016)
Deputies charge Floresville spurned lover with arson (February 3, 2016)
Deputies investigate recent thefts (February 3, 2016)
Editorial: The demand for villains (February 3, 2016)
Editorial: What’s in a city charter? Is it like a … Constitution? (February 3, 2016)
Eight-liner opponents face deadline (February 3, 2016)
FELPS pools tornado damage claim with city, Floresville ISD (February 3, 2016)
Floresville USDA accountant resigns (February 3, 2016)
Free CERT disaster course (February 3, 2016)
Get a free heart health screening in Kenedy Feb. 12 (February 3, 2016)
Greater LV Chamber to meet (February 3, 2016)
H-E-B recalls cookware (February 3, 2016)
Hold on for now (February 3, 2016)
It’s all happening at Nixon-Smiley Elementary (February 3, 2016)
Kicaster area will have fire coverage (February 3, 2016)
Landfill welcomes China Grove junk (February 3, 2016)
Letter: Apple Pie author extends thanks (February 3, 2016)
Letter: Gonzales differs with writer’s conclusion (February 3, 2016)
Letter: Talamantez truly a man of the people (February 3, 2016)
Life Line Screening event set in Floresville Feb. 28 (February 3, 2016)
Mock Republican Debate Feb. 20 (February 3, 2016)
Nixon-Smiley livestock show set for March (February 3, 2016)
One dead in game-room robbery (February 3, 2016)
Pioneer Award honors Burnside (February 3, 2016)
Pirates Cove in Poth offers after-school care service (February 3, 2016)
Police Blotter (February 3, 2016)
Save the date for Lincoln Dinner (February 3, 2016)
School district cops ink deal with city, county (February 3, 2016)
Second responders to meet (February 3, 2016)
Stockdale, La Vernia units respond to back-to-back fires (February 3, 2016)
Tanneberger is top agent (February 3, 2016)
Weigh in on Loop 410 changes (February 3, 2016)
Wilson County Hermann Sons lodges meet new-member goal (February 3, 2016)
‘Loving’ heart-shaped treats are for the birds (February 3, 2016)