• Topic: FY21 Technology Budget Update

    The Information Technology Department has a been hard at work identifying technologies the Town and School will utilize over the next year, as well as areas that need to be addressed based on the insights supplied by our technology partners.

    Some concerning issues we feel need to be addressed in the FY21 timeline is our security platform and the tiered security fabric Cohasset utilizes to protect systems, data and our end users. These areas of concern include the threat landscape we see in the form of Ransomware, Malware and other impactful payloads that are being deployed toward Educational and Government agencies.

    As I look to build the FY21 Technology budgets in the School, Municipal and Infrastructure budgets, we review solutions that would be most advantageous to adopt. These enhanced, or new solutions do have an impact on budgets, and we are cognizant of the financial impact this may potentially cause.

    To add clarity to the budgeting process for Technology, we first look at what must be done in the Central Infrastructure Budget (CIB) first, as that shared budget encompasses all common technologies leveraged throughout every department. Items found in that budget may be network components like switches, Firewalls, Security Filters, Telephony systems etc. all are funded in the CIB due to the common services utilized by every department.

    In FY21 the CIB has requested a significant increase to ramp up our security solutions due to the security concerns we have, based on the threat analytics received from State and Government security monitoring services. With these adoptions and enhancements to current security systems, we will achieve a level of security that is appropriate, to mitigate the security threats we know to be causing issues in many agencies.
    Additional Technology Budgets include the Schools (CPS) Technology budget that has been reduced significantly over the last few years due to the encompassing role the CIB plays in overall budgeting process. This year the CPS Expense Technology budget was reduced by approximately 4.5%, or $41,000 in part due to reductions in software, licensing, reallocation of expenditures and sound technology adoption while reducing capital and operational funding requirements, while providing superior solutions for curriculum technologies. Additionally, end of year turn backs to the CPS Central Office over the last few years total over $40,000. This was possible due to the efficiencies found in the Technology dept. as well as the positive impacts and offsets in funding from the CIB.

    Lastly the Municipal budget was reviewed and addressed as part of the FY21 Technology Budgeting process. This budget saw approximately a 3% increase, and this equated to six new or enhanced applications being adopted. Enhancements to E-Permitting, Electronic Document Management, and several management applications were responsible for the increases requested.

    With a complex budget encompassing three different Technology budgets, it’s imperative we understand the needs representative in each budget, and how those needs fully impact the Town of Cohasset. Review of these Technology budgets is one part of the Master Technology Plan being developed, and how that plan will shed light on where Cohasset budgets may change over the next few years.

    With Cloud based system adoptions, Capital funding will most likely shift to Operational funding to cover operational expenses. These changes will impact the towns over all budgeting strategy but may also allow for significant cost savings. As we break down the solutions available to Cohasset to meet all the diverse goals across all departments, while identifying shifts in needs for education and constituents services, we will recommend only the solutions necessary to meet our constituents needs, while ensuring constituent data and Cohasset systems remain secure.

    Ron P Menard
    Cohasset Chief Information Officer