Feeds

Texas snatches voter system from $863m IBM contract

Fears for lost data

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Texas has pulled its voter registration system from a $863m data center consolidation project being overseen by IBM, saying it distrusts the giant's ability to recover lost data.

IBM is merging separate data centers from 27 Texas state agencies into two facilities under a seven-year outsourcing contract, to cut costs and improve security.

But the Secretary of State office tells the the Austin American-Statesman it received a "wake-up call" in August after a major server crash resulted in a 13-day outage of its business records filing system.

It infers that if a similar incident occurred during an election, the agency wouldn't be able to verify new voters in Texas. The state agency received permission to withdrawal from the IBM program and set up a data center of its own with two separate backup locations.

An IBM spokesman told El Reg the outage was due to a failure with a third-party SAN it inherited from the Secretary of State office. Plans were in place to migrate that SAN to a new environment, he said.

"IBM worked closely with the Secretary of State's office to correct a complex situation as quickly as possible," he adds, claiming the systems were only intermittently down over the course of the remediation.

"In the end, all data was recovered, and the SAN environment was upgraded and improved," the IBM spokesman said.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Texas governor Rick Perry is quoted in the American-Statesman as saying attempts thus far to get the election systems working at the consolidated data center have been met with missed deadlines, equipment and software failures, and inadequate disaster recovery.

According to the agency's website, work on the IBM project began in early November 2004, and was expected to be operational by January 1, 2006.

This is not the first time IBM has messed up Texas. In 2008, governor Perry suspended the transfer of state files to IBM systems and fined the company $900,000 for data lost through back-up failures under the same government contract.

Separately, another server crash in July 2008 for the state Attorney General's Medicaid fraud unit caused a loss of half the records generated during an eight-month investigation period.

IBM told us after the initial incident at the Attorney General's office in 2008, improvements were made across the enterprise, including the AG's environment. It said the state's IT operations are more stable and secure now and have steadily improved since IBM began the project in 2007.

The American-Statesman, on the other hand, claims a survey of the 27 agencies involved in the data center consolidation project show that 88 per cent were dissatisfied with the services provided by IBM. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.