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Back Local News Data backup protocol for GovGuam urged by lawmaker

Data backup protocol for GovGuam urged by lawmaker

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SEN. Michael San Nicolas said the government has already spent $1.8 million in technology management since 2005, but government of Guam agencies still lack an electronic data protocol to back up critical information.

San Nicolas is the author of Bill 234, known as the Responsible Electronic Data Backup Act, which would require the government’s Office of Technology to set up a timeline for the establishment of a protocol to back up critical electronic data necessary for efficient GovGuam agency operations.

San Nicolas said that in 2005, an executive order established the Bureau of Information Technology which was the precursor of the Office of Technology – an entity established by law in April 2013.

Approximately $172,000 per fiscal year was allocated for the bureau.

According to San Nicolas, from 2005 to April 2013, GovGuam spent about $1.3 million for the bureau. So far, he said the data protocols have yet to be established.

“One of the reasons is because the Bureau of Information Technology did not have a timeline that required these protocols to be established,” San Nicolas said.

Moreover, the senator said it has been eight months since the establishment of the Office of Technology and GovGuam still doesn’t have the protocols in place.

“Again, one reason is we did not set the timelines to require these things to be done at a certain period,” the lawmaker said.

Appropriation

San Nicolas noted that $2 million was appropriated in the fiscal 2014 budget for the Office of Technology and with the first quarter of the fiscal year nearing its end, he estimated that $500,000 of the appropriation has already been spent in the new office.

“We have spent already $1.8 million in technology management since 2005 and we still have no protocol in place,” he said.

Upon enactment, Bill 234 will require the Office of Technology to work with GovGuam agencies within 30 days to do an inventory of all electronic data determined to be critical to its operations.

The measure also sets a 90-day timeline for the development of the data protocol system.

According to San Nicolas, the introduction of the measure came after the Department of Public Health and Social Services’ Office of Vital Statistics lost approximately 3,000 electronic birth records due to a computer crash at the Department of Administration.

As a result of the computer crash, the Office of Vital Statistics had to manually recreate thousands of lost birth records. According to the bill, electronic backups could have averted much of the service impact caused by the data loss.

Redundant

Meanwhile, Joey Manibusan, the acting chief technology officer, said in a letter read during the public hearing for the bill that he believes Bill 234 is redundant to what has already been mandated in Public Law 32-10, which established the Office of Technology.

“I respectfully request that the Legislature not pass Bill 234 and instead give the Office of Technology the support and resources it needs to carry out its duties and responsibilities,” he said.

However, Manibusan acknowledged that many government of Guam agencies have now reached a point where there is critical reliance on information technology and electronic data to provide and deliver services to the community.

These agencies, he stressed, have also reached a critical reliance on information technology and electronic data for their respective internal operation.

“I agree that it is imperative that the Office of Technology ensure that GovGuam agencies maintain the highest possible level of reliability and serviceability,” Manibusan said in the letter.

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