Schuylkill County Commissioners last week agreed to a massive lease and purchase of new computers and a number of cyber security and cloud computing services.
If the Courthouse is trying to put on a public show that it’s trying to take cyber security seriously, it figures the best way is to throw a lot of money at it.
On April 13, the Commissioners unanimously agreed to purchase a new virtual server and “NAS infrastructure” for the County. Of course, the County didn’t explain what a NAS infrastructure is but it would have been funny to hear them try.
Schuylkill County Commissioners Approve Major Technology Upgrade Purchases
We don’t know what it is so here’s an answer to the question: “What is a NAS infrastructure?” as provided by Seagate:
“A NAS system is a storage device connected to a network that allows storage and retrieval of data from a centralized location for authorized network users and heterogeneous clients. NAS systems are flexible and scale-out, meaning that as you need additional storage, you can add on to what you have.”
Per the Commissioners Agenda last week, this $262,000 purchase will “replace 10 file servers with a VMware virtualization cluster while adding centralized network attached storage.”
That’s definitely a line given to someone who asked, “Gimme something to say here on the Agenda that makes it sound like we know what we’re talking about.”
Cyber Security Infrastructure Project
The most important part of this $262,000 purchase is that it’s coming from American Rescue Plan funds. That wasn’t the only Rescue Plan money the Commissioners agreed to spend last week.
They also approved a “Cyber Security Infrastructure Project” to the tune of $110,000. It’s also coming from the Rescue Plan money.
The spending is also coming at a time when the Courthouse is trying to prove – without actually proving – that two allegedly rogue employees spent an inordinate amount of time looking up random or targeted people on LexisNexis.
The County is also trying to prove that these allegedly “unauthorized searches” could have compromised the personal identity of nearly 10,000 people.
Regarding the so-called cyber security infrastructure project purchases, the County assures everyone that it includes “items recommended by the PA National Guard Defensive Cyber Operations Unit, such as multi-factor authentication, web gateway, and firewall enhancements, network segmentation, and forced password changes.
That’s some great copy-pasta from the promotional materials used to sell these services to someone but it’s only as good as its implementation.
Either way, it’s just interesting that the Courthouse would pick right now to make this purchase.
But Wait There’s More …
Why stop there? That’s what the Commissioners said when dishing out the Rescue Plan funding last week.
The biggest of big-big ticket purchases was $355,954 for MS365 cloud services for County offices. This is the cloud-based alternative to Microsoft Office. For this money, the County gets “licenses, OneDrive file storage, device management, threat protection, Ediscovery, backup, implementation, and training.”
Again, that’s something right off the salesman’s brochure.
So, there goes another chunk of the Rescue Plan funds.
Upgrades for Me But Not for Thee
Seeing this big, fancy tech talk on the Commissioners meeting agenda is pretty interesting. This sort of in-depth technical mumbo jumbo is coming from the same people who needed a month to post the government’s budget on its own website.
What’s also interesting is how the Courthouse keeps tricking out its technology infrastructure there and at other County offices, but it continues to put the so-called and much-ballyhooed “broadband project” on the back burner.
Dude, They’re Getting 99 Dells …
The selfish spending didn’t stop there, either.
In addition to all that Rescue Plan spending last week, the Courthouse said to itself, “What’s the point of all this new software if we don’t get new computers?”
So, the Commissioners approved leasing 99 Dell computers, monitors, and soundbars. The 5-year lease has an annual cost of $22,005.46. Money for this tech upgrade is set to come from the General Fund.