[ISN] State consolidates servers, security

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu Oct 03 2002 - 00:47:57 PDT

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    By Dibya Sarkar 
    Oct. 2, 2002
    Ensuring that North Carolina's information technology systems don't
    succumb to any interruptions, the state government is undertaking data
    server consolidation to bolster network security as well as save
    costs, according to its chief information officer.
    George Bakolia, who took over the CIO reins this spring, said he's
    anticipating "significant savings" by reducing the number of servers
    across the state government by "at a minimum 50 to 60 percent."
    "And that really trickles right into network security because of our
    inability and lack of resources to keep up with the continuous
    patching of our systems attached to our network," he said. "And then
    we can also reduce the cost on the maintenance and the procurement
    processes, so if we can do that, we can shift some of those funds
    toward the other aspects."
    Data server consolidation also helps the state deploy and use IT
    employees more effectively, he said, noting the shortage of government
    IT workers nationwide.
    Another initiative is creating a security zone architecture for all
    mission-critical applications related to North Carolina's portal
    "Basically, we've taken the network architecture a step further,"  
    Bakolia said. "We have defined levels of security within the network
    basically within [server] farms  we call it zones  and in there we
    would house certain applications based on how critical and sensitive
    they are. We began about eight months ago."
    Not unlike other states facing severe or considerable budget crunches,
    North Carolina has to do more with less. Bakolia, who previously was
    the N.C. Justice Department's CIO, said the government's IT budget has
    been reduced by $20 million. That means no new large projects unless
    the legislature commits funds to them, he said.
    "But I really think that if we target areas of efficiencies, we get
    more than enough to suffice," he said.
    Data server consolidation is one of a handful of initiatives Bakolia
    is spearheading.
    He is promoting an effort he started at the state Justice Department
    that entailed creating a blueprint of applications within legacy
    systems and translating lines of code into a more modern computer
    language, such as Java.
    "There's other mission-critical entities across state government like
    transportation, human services and revenue [that] have the same type
    of problem where they have vintage applications from the '70s that all
    the citizens of the state are relying on that nobody has even
    addressed," he said. "We're looking at millions of lines of code, and
    my research so far has been showing that the agencies are getting
    lower and lower in their skill expertise to maintain those systems."
    Another application he's promoting is a common payment service.
    "We're enabling the private sector and state government to do
    automated transaction handling with credit cards and things like that
    through a common payment system," Bakolia said. "And that could add
    significant savings to the state. It's running in production. We put
    it in place as of probably about a year ago. But we're trying to
    expand on that."
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