Feb. 10--Alooming technology change has Rio Rancho's IT director scrambling to swap out antiquated computers and software to improve operations and avoid exposing the city to potential hacking attacks.
Information Technology Director Lisa Schimmel said the majority of the city's computers are still using the Windows XP operating system that Microsoft has said it will no longer support after April 8.
"We are in dire need," Schimmel told councilors during the midyear city budget review on Wednesday.
Using outdated technology is inefficient, she said, and exposes the city to security risks.
"Hackers can exploit that -- of course, we have every safeguard in place -- but it's very problematic," she said.
Schimmel estimated that 300 of the city's roughly 575 computers at 31 locations, including City Hall, city libraries, the Aquatic Center and the Police Department headquarters, use the XP system.
As part of the midyear budget update, City Manager Keith Riesberg was proposing to use $328,000 to purchase new computers equipped with the Windows 7 system. The money came from cost saving on several renegotiated contracts.
City Councilor Chuck Wilkins countered with an amendment to cut the proposed amount to $200,000 and replace only high-priority computers this year so they could put the balance into an economic development fund.
After listening to Schimmel's dire scenario, councilors unanimously rejected Wilkins' amendment and unanimously approved the midyear budget.
(c)2014 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)
Visit the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.) at www.abqjournal.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services