At a work session on Tuesday, Jan. 11, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners authorized staff to proceed with the Public Safety Infrastructure Refresh project.
The project will be developed and funded over the course of the next five years and is expected not to exceed $1.4 million.
Major Nick Curry of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office said that the infrastructure project would be beneficial to the public safety department, as it is prone to attacks through malware and ransomware.
Curry said that the original infrastructure, supplied in 2015, is starting to become expensive as the “warranty’s running out.”
“As you’re aware, public safety infrastructures are a huge target for attacks such as ransomware and malware due to the critical nature … of the data that we have and the inability to function without it,” he said.
Curry explained that when an attack happens, “ultimately, the taxpayers are forced to pay a substantial amount” to retrieve any data that was stolen.
As a joint venture between the Forsyth County Fire Department and Emergency Management Agency, Curry said the infrastructure will “allow quick recovery when a catastrophic event happens.”
This will help diminish the amount of data lost and, in turn, save taxpayers money due to the prompt response from the infrastructure.
District 5 Commissioner Laura Semanson asked what the source of funding was for the infrastructure.
County Manager Kevin Tanner said that the item was “included in the 2022 budget, so it is a budgeted item that was anticipated.”
District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills asked about the longevity of the infrastructure and if it would continue to be the “latest and greatest” product after five years have passed.
“I know that we’re constantly talking about … threats … with our software,” Mills said. “[But] five years in the technical world is a long time. That’s an eternity.”
Assistant County Manager Brandon Kenney said that the county IT department worked closely with the sheriff’s office and Curry’s staff to create an infrastructure that would remain efficient for five years.
“We’re … comfortable with the technology and the solution,” Kenney said. “It will be there for five years; we’re very confident [about] that.”
Commissioners approved the project with a unanimous vote, 5-0.