Consultant: Farmington Library IT system was outdated, at risk

The CEO of a consulting firm hired to evaluate the Farmington Community Library’s information technology (IT) system on Thursday shared a laundry list of problems addressed over the past six months.

Most of the library’s in-house staff lost their jobs last year, after a review conducted by MBM Technology Solutions found system vulnerabilities. Jason Goelde provided a recap during a Board of Trustees meeting about work completed since September.

“The challenges that we faced from the beginning was, there was very little and outdated IT network documentation,” he said. “The server room had old hardware left in the racks, plugged in, still consuming power and not decommissioned or removed.”

Goelde said the library lacked “basic security policies”, and hardware alerts on several failed components had not been addressed.

“From what we gathered, the servers weren’t maintained from a hardware as well as an operating system perspective,” he said.

As an example, Goelde said, an exchange server for email was running 2013 software for which Microsoft provides little support. The company found 14 updates that had not been completed.

MBM replaced firewall protection and put in place a password policy, Goelde said. The company also enabled “brute force attack” protection, which prevents people from multiple log-in attempts.

After outage, email moves online

Email has been migrated from the local server to an online server, after a week-long outage. Goelde said the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Microsoft had issued a warning about cyber attacks on exchange servers.

“(They) said two things. Either patch it within the next 24 hours or shut it down,” he said.

Problems developed when MBM attempted to install the patch, plus a batch of updates, Goelde said. The company couldn’t get support from Microsoft because the server was outdated. After discussing options, the library’s email system was moved online.

Trustee Danette Duron-Willner asked about an exit strategy, as the contract with MBM is set to end in April.

“How are we prioritizing how your time and our money are going to be spent in the next 30 days?” she asked.

“Our big focus is to put things in place that can be easily maintained,” Goelde said, “so you can manage more with less.”

He added that a number of issues remained. Citing security concerns, he asked to discuss them in a closed meeting with the board.

Duron-Willner said the board had asked library director Riti Grover to hire an in-house IT leader and hoped that MBM would work with that staff member.

“I don’t want this to be a continued dependence,” Duron-Willner said.

Listen to the full meeting, which starts around the 5:17 mark:

 

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