IT Recovery Ongoing in Potter County, Texas, Following Virus

The computer virus that downed the county’s court system last month has IT personnel working toward operational normalcy. Officials say the conversation around technology infrastructure will be a long-term one.

by Douglas Clark Amarillo Globe-News, Texas / May 29, 2019

(TNS) — Potter County, Texas, officials say the effort to return to a sense of operational normalcy after last month's system wide information technology virus is in the recovery phase. County personnel previously noted the viral attack impacted the court system, including the offices at the Santa Fe Building, as well as the Potter County Detention Center and mental health patient intake. People conducting business at the district and county clerks office were also affected.

"Kudos to our IT department and all of the elected officials and department heads," Potter County Precinct Two Commissioner Mercy Murguia said. "Obviously this is something everyone has been working through. We're looking at our bigger programs and kind of going list by list to stabilize our larger departments. We're still in a recovery state, so our IT director has been sending out countywide communication about where we sit with every computer program - the ones that impact our public facing. This is something we will work through and continue to work through."

Murguia said the process is ongoing.

"This is going to be a long term conversation," she said. "The strategic dialogue around IT infrastructure will be a long term conversation countywide and I think it should be for any organization. You'll still hear about this a year from now, as we look at strategic movements, support the network and determine what that looks like for the county. Our partnering counties have been asking questions about what we've done different, how they can learn alongside us and I think it will turn out to be a community conversation."

The key lessons to be learned from the experience, per Murguia, are the basics.

"It's making sure you're not clicking on things in your email, ensuring email passwords are strong and protected and all of the other normal things you would do in observing general operations," she said. "What's great about where we sit is we're not in this alone. We have partnering cities, counties and teaching institutions. It really has opened a dialogue, which is always healthy."

Officials said the top down approach to addressing virus recovery includes another dimension of public facing - assessing what the public feels first and how quickly the county responds.

©2019 Amarillo Globe-News, Texas. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.