The Village of Cumberland is giving its computer infrastructure a makeover.
Of particular concern are a couple of the servers in the local government’s computer system. Of the five servers, according to chief administrative officer Clayton Postings, two are badly out of date.
One dates is from 2003 and the other from 2008, which is old in digital terms. A cursory search online about typical lifespans for servers suggests about five years, though some says good ones can operate about 10 years.
“Because of the age of the server, we’re unable to provide updates to those servers any longer,” Postings told council at the March 8 meeting.
Postings said the village has a new information technology provider as of Feb. 1, and as part of implementing service, they have been evaluating the village’s existing system.
“We realize with our new service provider, there’s some areas where we have some risks,” he said.
The new servers will improve security and productivity, Postings added. They emerged as a top priority, so staff recommended to council that Cumberland use some restart funding from the joint federal-provincial funding program to upgrade the system. Council also agreed to use some of restart funding to purchase an emergency generator for the new fire hall, which is nearing completion.
The information technology upgrade will include migrating the village’s system to Microsoft Office 365, which will handle more email by moving some to cloud-based technology, Postings added.
“It meets all requirements related to Canadian data…. Information isn’t leaving the country,” he said.
As well, the village is looking at improving remote access to data and email, which has taken on greater importance this past year.
“With COVID, we’ve been relying on more and more need for remote access,” he said, adding the village is already in the process of moving toward fibre optics communication.
As part of the upgrade, the village plans on moving away from paper use toward mobile devices, though some on council wanted to make sure their devices — whether tablets or laptops — will still have a keyboard function.
In all, these latest projects using the restart funding are estimated to cost up to $223,500. Of this, the generator for the fire hall could run $60,000 to $80,000. The estimates for the information technology upgrades are $65,000 for the servers, $50,000 for moving to Office 365, $15,000 for remote access capability and $13,500 for the mobile devices for members of council. The restart funding has to be spent this year and is aimed at allowing local governments to increase their working capacity in response to COVID and become more resilient to related challenges.