FLINT TWP. — Offering improved protection from cyber-attacks, ransomware and server crashes, IT Right, the township’s information technology provider, requested a new contract Feb. 3, along with a $12,300 cost increase for five-years.
The board approved the new contract with IT Right by a 6-1 vote, Clerk Kathy Funk voting no after experiencing what she said has been a poor response by the computer consulting in dealing with recent laptop issues in her department.
Supervisor Karyn Miller said the company has provided IT service for the township since 2012 and has operated without a considerable increase in the among it charges.
According to Randy Allen, director of information technology at IT Right, the company has tried to hold prices down for the past eight years, asking for only one increase in that time of $1,500 bringing the township’s cost to $18,000.
But with cyber-attacks and ransomware becoming more common against municipalities, Allen said the company is improving its services to better combat those threats – meaning a need to charge its customers more to pay for these improvements.
“IT Right takes this quite seriously,” said Allen. “There has been a flood of requests since May and June last year. What we’re doing is to protect our interests with townships, cities and villages.”
He said the company is working very closely with the State of Michigan’s cyber-security division looking for tools and technique to protect its clients. He said IT Right is working to try and identify attacks before they happen and to roll back successful attacks as soon as they happen.
IT Right is also supporting law enforcement, providing a level of encryption to support the police. The company, said Allen, is authorized by the state to work on police systems without supervision.
“This is our bread and butter,” said Allen. “We’re not involved in doctor’s offices, lawyers – we turn that work away. We just have municipal customers.”
Treasurer Lisa Anderson asked how often the company’s designated person would be at the township, to which Allen replied monthly.
Funk complained that while she’s liked IT Right’s service the past eight years, she had a bad experience last week when the company could not get a representative to come out and help her department fix three malfunctioning computers.
“There was no response, no one came out,” she said. “A technician should have been out here on site.”
The problem was eventually fixed through a technician helping the staff fix the problem by phone. The delay, Funk said, prompted her to vote no on the contract.
The rest of the board voted in favor of the contract, which either side can terminate with 30 days notice.