Audit outlines problems in school district IT department

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - An in depth audit of Richmond city's Department of Technology shows a variety of problems and areas where the district is vulnerable. School districts leaders say they are already addressing the problems.

This report did not come as a surprise to district officials who say they have been working with the auditors so they could learn exactly where changes need to be made. While they acknowledge the problems, the believe they are in better shape than the report may indicate.

The audit is a 160 page report, compiled by the City's Auditor Umessh Dallal, points to a number of ways the school can improve the way it uses its technology.

It claims that the schools computers are vulnerable to attacks by hackers. Superintendent Dr. Yvonne Brandon said she is confident that their firewalls are as up to date as they can be and at no point have they been threatened.

"No, we have not had any evidence of people hacking or anyone trying to hack into that," said  Dr. Brandon.

The report also said that 13 thousand pieces of computer equipment at buildings across the school district are missing. Forty two percent of their entire inventory. Dr Brandon said it doesn't take into account technology, no longer in use.

Perhaps the most alarming, the finding that if a natural disaster were to hit, that schools systems would take weeks to get back up and running.

School officials say they have a system they just need to make sure it works.

"We need to test it. And we have not tested, because that is a part of our current technology plan. We need to test it at least three times a year," Dr. Brandon said.

Overall the district believes they are 60 percent of the way to becoming compliant with the audits' findings.

While school administrators do admit improvements can be made to their IT department but, those improvements come at a cost. A cost they estimate at more than one million dollars.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.