ITD to ‘unify’ the technological needs of state agencies

BISMARCK, ND (KFYR) – COVID has shown how much we rely on technology. The needs for digital work have exploded with remote resources and growing concerns for cybersecurity.

The North Dakota Department of Information Technology has been on the front lines of this demand and says the state as a whole can save a lot of money if agencies use this time to invest in modern workplaces. .

Government agencies are responsible for purchasing their own equipment and budgeting for maintenance.

For a fee, the state’s information technology department can help you with any technical assistance.

With many departments looking to use ARPA dollars to update equipment, ITD is trying to work with them to achieve their goals.

But some have experienced bumps in the road with recent efforts.

For years, some agencies have followed a “unification” initiative, where ITD tries to get everyone on similar equipment and platforms.

This is because the technological options have multiplied over the decades and someone has had to learn how to fix everything.

“I currently have over 100 makes and models of desktop computers in my fleet… Each of them has different firmware, different drivers, which means you manage them differently. So it’s the ability to shrink that down to a much smaller list of makes and models, which makes deployment much more efficient, ”said Duane Schell, Chief Technology Officer of NDIT.

As agencies experience an increase in technical fees for the early stages, the hope is that costs will drop as systems get installed.

So far, 20 agencies have signed to unify.

Most see increased aviation safety, but others have experienced a less smooth transition from their old systems.

“It’s a pretty massive system that was developed in the late 1980s, probably around 1988. Extremely archaic, extremely outdated, but we only have the two state programmers who know how to fix this. I saw that we kind of had duct tape and a paper clip together, ”said outgoing college and school land commissioner Jodi Smith.

In order to join efforts to “unify” or update equipment in these amounts, it must be signed by the state legislature.

And some agencies could receive their money in the coming weeks.

ITD reports an average of 12,000 “incidents” per month, but they believe that number will increase if more agencies sign up for their services.

But response times could be faster if they’re on familiar systems.

Copyright 2021 KFYR. All rights reserved.

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