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Texas Agencies Ask for $898M for Cybersecurity, Legacy Risks

Every two years, the Texas Department of Information Resources prepares a Prioritized Cybersecurity and Legacy Systems report for state legislators. The latest report includes a request for just under $900 million.

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The Texas State Capitol in Austin.
Shutterstock/Sean Pavone
Twenty-seven Texas agencies would like the Texas Legislature to allocate $898.6 million to address risks related to cybersecurity and legacy systems, according to the 2020 Prioritized Cybersecurity and Legacy Systems (PCLS) report

To comply with state law, the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) produces a PCLS report during every even-numbered year. Information is collected through a survey, and roughly 80 agencies have the opportunity to participate.

The funding requested in this latest report, which was submitted in October 2020 and released last month, eclipses the amount requested in the 2018 PCLS report, which included a $482 million request from 28 agencies. 

The $898.6 million would cover 59 different projects. Enterprise Solution Services Director Krishna Edathil, who conducted the survey and published the report, said in an email that additional details about the projects and how the funding breaks down by project wouldn't be disclosed.

While it is unknown how much of the requested money would go toward cybersecurity projects versus legacy modernization projects, Edathil provided a brief explanation as to why the current funding request was so much more than the 2018 request. 

"Several agencies submitted modernization projects of larger applications which impacted the overall request," he said. 

"As this is the third report, many agencies engaged early and had teams allocated to work on developing their projects," he added. "The growth seems to align with the ongoing agency prioritization of modernization and cybersecurity."

One can only speculate that COVID-19 had an impact on the 2020 report by putting a bigger spotlight on technology shortcomings among Texas agencies.

It's also impossible to predict how much money the Texas Legislature would provide for the cybersecurity and legacy modernization projects. In his email, Edathil indicated that the state approved more than $200 million for projects requested in 2018. 

In related news, DIR has issued a far-reaching Request for Offer (RFO) for technology related to the modernization of the Texas Agency Network (TEX-AN), which manages voice and data communications. According to DIR documentation, the RFO proposals should outline an expansive portfolio of data and voice services to improve workflows, security and scalability in order to address needs around remote work, cloud computing, next-gen 911, automatic billing and other functions.  

DIR estimates the contract will span four years, with four one-year optional renewals. DIR will hold a webinar to address questions on Jan. 19. 

Skip Descant contributed to this report. 

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