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Kansas County Makes Improvements to Bolster IT Security

Grappling with a nationwide concern about a wave of cyberattacks that have been targeting local governments, Barton County, Kan., has approved new purchases to bolster its IT security protections.

by Dale Hogg, Great Bend Tribune / December 19, 2019
Shutterstock/Michael Traitov

(TNS) — Running an organization in this era of information technology is costly, but not being up to date and secure can be even more expensive. That is what the Barton County, Kan., Commission noted Monday morning as they OKed purchases for the IT Department.

First, commissioners approved the purchase of renewal licenses for up to 186 users for Office 365 Business. This enables all computer users to have email hosting, protection and archiving as well as a desktop version of Office, said Network Administrator/Service Technician Dereck Hollingshead. The total cost of service for 2020 is $30,856.09.

Hollingshead said they switched vendors to SHI International Corp. of Somerset, N.J., a firm the county has used for other IT purchases in the past. This saved the county about $2,700 over last year.

“This is the cost of doing business,” said commission Chairwoman Jennifer Schartz. “We can’t do without it.”

Next, Hollingshead asked the commission to spend what he had just saved by switching providers. He recommended the purchase of KnowB4 at a cost of $10,531.32 for a three-year contract, also from SHI.

This will allow the IT Department to deploy security awareness training to all employees who have access to a Barton County computer, he said. The training will improve internet security.

He said the Department of Homeland Security ran a phishing test for the county and found weaknesses. But, IT was unable to pin-point where they came from within the county organization.

This training will be online, automated and self-guided by the employees, he said. The IT Department will learn what staff members struggled with the coursework and further training will be recommended.

With a lot of data and money at risk from scams and phishing schemes, and losses would be serious, Schartz. “We can’t let that happen.”

©2019 Great Bend Tribune, Kan. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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