Security of city’s computers criticized
Protection from rain is another key issue, an audit finds
A rain gutter and tarps protect vital equipment from being damaged by water leaking into the underground data center that houses the city's most critical information technology components.
That is just one of the findings by City Auditor Les Tanaka as his office examined how well the city Department of Information Technology has managed and secured the city's IT systems and resources.
"The department has admirably managed the technical aspects of the city's information technology system despite the age of certain key systems and funding constraints," the audit said.
But the audit goes on to say that the "the department has been unable (to) provide sufficient oversight in its overall security management due to a lack of authority in current administrative guidance and because it has delegated key monitoring and enforcement responsibilities to departments and users."
The department's director acknowledged the problems highlighted by the audit and said the department is working toward improvement.
"Under-funding in this area has made it difficult to comply with many common practices," wrote Director Gordon Bruce in a response letter to the auditor.
Bruce also wrote that the audit will be an opportunity to "further educate administration and council about the importance of information technology in the day-to-day operations of the city."
The city's most critical systems are located in the Honolulu Municipal Building basement, which suffers from water intrusion when it rains or when the landscaping is overwatered, the report said.
As a result, a rain gutter and tarps were put up to prevent water damage.
Paper towels stuck between the wall and roof provide a "rudimentary water detection system" that allows employees to check on the dampness of the paper towels and report the wetness to maintenance.
Computer equipment was damaged from dripping water.
Because no maintenance employees are dedicated to the municipal building, it makes "timely remediation of leaks or applying preventative maintenance more difficult."
The audit also reported problems with fire suppression and air conditioning to cool equipment.
The audit also said that too many employees have cards to gain access to the center, which could pose a security concern, and also criticized the previous administration for focusing on "high-profile and public-relations activities" instead of disaster preparation.