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Potter County, Texas, to Get IT Disaster Recovery Plan

A consultant was hired by county officials last August on the heels of an April 2019 ransomware attack that triggered a series of vast system outages. That plan is expected during the first quarter.

by Douglas Clark, Amarillo Globe-News / January 24, 2020
Shutterstock/Joe Techapanupreeda

(TNS) — The firm handling Potter County's IT services said it is considering a pair of security options designed to bolster data backup solutions.

"I met with Potter County's primary vendors to discuss changing the county backup solutions to something more robust that would include features such as air gapping," said David Blankenship, Andrews & Associates IT Solutions Chief Information Officer. "Air gapping means that the backup data is not directly connected to the network. The reason that's important today is because more of the threats like new strains of ransomware attack backups as well."

Andrews & Associates IT Solutions was hired by Potter County officials last August on the heels of an April 2019 ransomware attack that triggered a series of vast system outages.

"There's actually two that we're looking at," Blankenship said, regarding the potential cost estimates. "One is an updated tape product. Tape has been around a long time - air gapped because the backup data on tape, once the backup is there, is stored some place else so it can't get hacked. I'm waiting for quotes for both products. That is the lesser of the two, and it's expected it will be under $20,000."

Blankenship said the other option being considered could potentially carry a six-figure price tag.

"The way the other product works, it also has some security measures and metrics it offers," he said. "When a backup is being made, it opens up access to what it needs to recover that data, copies that data, then closes it."

Andrews & Associates IT Solutions previously noted a new firewall has been installed, the encryption process has been initiated on county IT devices, and another layer of protection would soon be introduced in the form of dual authentication - adding a second level of identity verification to the log-in process.

County officials said, during the first quarter of this year, they are anticipating receiving a formalized IT disaster recovery plan crafted by Andrews & Associates IT Solutions.

©2020 Amarillo Globe-News, Texas Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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