A minimal ballot proposal for a $1.25 billion bond package that Dallas voters will consider starting this week is expected to help improve how the city securely stores data.

Proposition J asks Dallas voters to authorize the city to issue $5 million in general obligation bonds for information technology facilities and improvements. In this case, all of the funds will go to one building: the former IBM building at 1000 Bellevue Street. The city plans to move a data center operated by the Information Technology Services Authority there.

The new building will replace space in City Hall that has been used since the 1970s to store equipment and data, but city officials say it was originally designed as office space and has not been significantly updated in the past 50 years. It is said that it was not done.

“Essentially, the $5 million deposit will go toward a new building and any improvements such as an up-to-date fire suppression system, good physical access, and any physical repairs to the building that need to be addressed. ,” said Brian Gardner, the city's chief technology and information security officer.

Gardner said the city of Dallas will take over ownership of the former IBM building near Jack Evans Police Headquarters starting in October. The city has leased IBM's parking lot to the police department since at least 2000.

Friday, April 19, 2024, at the IBM Technology Building, 1000 Bellevue Street in Dallas.(Nathan Hunsinger/Special Contributor)

The lease includes an option for Dallas to purchase the IBM parking lot and building at the end of the lease for $1, the city said. His term ends at the end of September.

Of the proposed $5 million bond, Gardner said $2.25 million would be for building upgrades, $1.2 million for electronic systems that control physical access throughout the facility and $800,000 for emergency power in the event of a main power failure. The project is planned to cost $750,000. For fire alarm systems.

“It will help maintain the city's technology infrastructure,” Gardner said.

According to an August 2023 city memo, the city's current data center does not have a fire suppression system, does not have a cooling system to meet current demands, and does not have enough space to store all city systems that should be operational. There are problems such as lack of space. Out of the data center.

“Multiple mission-critical applications/systems are operated by departments in spaces that are unsafe, lack backup power, and lack proper climate control,” said Assistant City Manager Robert Perez. he wrote in an August 2023 memo to the Dallas City Council. . Perez said the city may also consider moving its 911 call center and emergency operations center to the Bellevue Street building.

In his memo, he estimated that it would cost the city between $175 million and $325 million to build a new data center based on the IT department's needs.

The city's IT department originally sought a $30 million bond to pay for upgrades to the Bellevue Street building and business relocation, including $16.5 million for improvements and an additional $4.5 million for relocation. It was.

Dallas government has not only been slow to upgrade the city's technology in recent years, but also had problems with data security and storage.

The city had repeated issues in 2021 with the system that alerts firefighters to emergency calls when they're inside the station because all fire department computers hadn't been upgraded from Windows 7, which was released in 2009. In 2021, his city's IT staff deleted millions of police files, an independent investigation determined was likely accidental, and an internal review gave the department clear rules on how data is stored. It turned out that it was missing.

A ransomware attack last year took some of the city's computers and services offline for weeks, affecting more than 30,000 people whose addresses, Social Security numbers and other personal information were exposed in a data breach.

Last August, the City Council approved setting aside nearly $8.6 million to pay vendors for hardware, software, incident response and consulting services in response to ransomware attacks. The City Council last year approved several technology upgrades aimed at strengthening the city's cyber defenses, including a nearly $4 million contract to get the city's IT department a new system to alert it to potential cyberattacks.

Early voting begins on April 22nd and ends on April 30th. The election will be held on May 4th.

Source link