Dodge County Computer Network Vulnerable

12/21/17 – Officials in Dodge County were surprised to recently discover that the computer server that backs up the entire county computer network has not been in operation for the past several months or more. To address the issue, the county board this week approved the hiring of Sirius Computer Solutions, and the purchase of related equipment, at a cost of $427-thousand dollars. The tentative date to have the backup system up and running is March of next year.

The county’s main computer servers are housed at the courthouse in Juneau and in 2015 a backup was established down the road at the county-owned Clearview Nursing Home. At the same time, the county decided to open what they call a Continuity of Operations site at the Mayville Highway Shop. Should there be a catastrophic event in Juneau, the satellite operation in Mayville houses administrative offices for all departments and has its own stand-alone computer network. County Administrator Jim Mielke says a decision was made without his knowledge, and without approval by the Information Technology Committee, to abandon Clearview and instead backup the county’s computer network in Mayville. However, the Mayville site has never been operational as a backup. Mielke says “some internal decisions made administratively did not keep pace with what was necessary equipment-wise” and is being corrected. He says for a variety of reasons that plan never came to fruition and the county has been left vulnerable without a safety net for its computer network.

Information Technology Director Ruth Otto left her position in late October. County officials are not commenting on the circumstances surrounding her departure, saying that it is an “ongoing personnel issue.” Mielke did say that it was not discovered until after the departure that the computer network was not being backed up. He says  there is no active recruitment to fill the vacancy at this point as the county is still evaluating the best course of action going forward.