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Council approves IT agreement

The City of Lawton is ready to begin the process to modernize its IT network, following action Tuesday by the City Council.

Council members voted unanimously to set a $24,000 agreement with DRP Global Solutions, the Dallas-based firm that will provide technical assistance to review, design, implement and configure a long-term stable information technology (IT) network for the City of Lawton. It is a goal that city department heads have been pushing toward for years, and one that gained traction in the aftermath of a cyber virus that took down most of the city network in mid-August 2017 and caused months of headaches for administrators.

And, it’s a goal that now is achievable, after city voters agreed to revise the 2016 Capital Improvements Program, deleting a category for alternate water sources and adding two more: infrastructure to support industrial economic development and IT upgrades for the City of Lawton. City officials have estimated there will be $20 million to $21 million available for those two categories, and some city officials have said the IT modernization must take priority.

The city’s IT consultant tentatively set a $10 million to $15 million cost on modernizing the city’s core network, with additional costs such as moving the city’s IT data center (estimated at $2 million to $4 million). The process will be done in phases, city administrators have said. It also will be done in cooperation with the city’s new IT director, Gwen Spencer. Hiring an IT director and turning what had been a division into a stand-alone department was one of the recommendations made by the city’s IT consultant, hired to help the city recover in the aftermath of the cyber virus attack.

The Lawton Constitution

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