ANDERSON — The cost to Madison County as a result of the ransonware attack is approaching $200,000 after the Madison County Commissioners approved several contracts.

The commissioners on Tuesday approved contracts for off-site storage of data, a cooperative effort with the city of Anderson for firewall protection and a backup system for the court system.

Earlier this year the county’s computer system was hit by a ransomware attack that locked up county files. At the recommendation of the county’s insurance carrier, a $21,000 ransom was paid to obtain the encryption keys.

Lisa Cannon, director of the IT Department, said a contract with US Signal will cost the county $6,400 per month to store data off-site.

She said the total cost of the three contracts is $198,180 with approval from the Madison County Council expected Tuesday.

Cannon said a second option with US Signal for the entire county computer system including the servers would have cost $11,900 per month.

She said if the individual departments believe they need the additional backup system for their servers, that cost should be included in departmental budgets for 2017.

Cannon said another system being implemented will protect the court system computers from viruses and a potential ransonware attack.

Included in the request was a $240 monthly charge to work in conjunction with the city of Anderson on multiple firewalls to protect the computer systems.

Cannon said she has talked to members of the county council who support the expenditure for the backup systems.

This is on top of the $17,500 the county spent to bring in US Signal to help bring the county’s computer system back on line.

At the county council's November meeting, Cannon said she will be spending money that is not in her budget over the next month.

“It has been a devastating last few days,” she said. “We can’t do without any longer.”

Cannon said the council eliminated six positions in the department in 2012 and reduced the budget by 56 percent.

“We can’t be expected to operate as large as General Motors on a gas station budget,” she said. “We need help and it’s going to take funds.”

Cannon said the ransomware attack affected 600 personal computers and up to 75 servers.

“We can’t wait to take action,” she said. “We have to have bodies and finances. We can’t operate the IT Department on a shoestring budget.”

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