Vilas County government deals with thousands of data points every day and any disruption of data access impacts county operations while statures say they must keep certain data such as land records forever while lesser information such as electronic messages for only seven years.
The county is looking at improving a second data storage center and to look at the Cloud for added protection. A presentation to the committee identified four levels of “disasters” which could impact Information Technology (IT) operations and data recovery.
Level one would be loss of power to the courthouse complex, level two would be loss of the data center proper, ie, the server room, level three loss of access to the courthouse complex, and level four would be a major disaster to the entire Eagle River area. One main concern was an “attack” by what's called “ransomware” where a virus infects all aspects of computer systems with a “cost” to have it removed. An example was a Georgia county that “paid $400,000 to have the infection removed” which they determined was less that trying to rebuild the system.
The recommendation was to improve protection at the second site in the Forestry office and to have a third site, the Cloud, thereby moving away from tapes and covering all four disaster levels. Cost estimates were a one time cost of $170,000 plus adequate backup generators with monthly costs of at least $2,500 a year.
IT director Mike Duening indicated they “have discussed this for years and the Cloud services make sense, they are reliable and cost effective.” County board chairman Ron DeBruyne felt the Forestry building is wood, subject to fire, and the storage in the basement needs to be better protected.
The committee approved a motion to recommend to the finance committee to include $200,000 for data storage in the Cloud in the 2020 budget.