Watertown Receives $80K in State Tech Grants to Improve Town’s System, Cybersecurity

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Watertown City Hall

Watertown Town Hall

The Town of Watertown received two technology grants from for a total of $80,000 as part of the state’s Community Compact program.

Watertown Chief Information Officer Chris McClure applied for the grants to help Town departments transitioning to a new computer software system, Office 365, as well as to help protect the Town’s computer networks. The application went in on Feb. 10, and two days later he received a letter from Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito congratulating Watertown on receiving the grants.

“We applied for two Focus Areas. We were awarded $80,000 ($40,000 for each Focus Area), allowing us to start the first phase of both critical projects,” said McClure, who said work will begin immediately after the money is received, with plans to complete the projects within 12 months.

McClure sent out the following details about the grant, and the work:

These grants will be instrumental in building Watertown’s Governance/Cyber Security program and ensuring our migration to Office 365 is a positive, transformative experience for the town.

  1. Identify a business process that is inefficient and not meeting the expectations of key stakeholders, perform an analysis, and develop a plan to better meet the needs of stakeholders and more effectively leverage technology.
  • In 2019-2020, Watertown recognized the urgent need to modernize its Technology vision to meet current and future security and delivery needs and expectations. Watertown completed an independent, comprehensive IT assessment that led to significant operating and capital budget increases and the hiring of a Chief Information Officer.
  • In 2020-2021, Watertown has started projects that include infrastructure, cybersecurity, continuity, social media, web and mobile app development, permitting, financial transparency, and document management.
  • Watertown has also aggressively started the move to the cloud including a migration to Office 365.
  • The migration to Office 365 has the ability to be a transformative experience for Watertown employees and the entire community.
  • Training and empowering all Watertown employees to unleash the communication, collaboration, efficiency, transparency, and mobility tools of the full Office 365 and Teams suite can break down organizational inefficiencies and silos and create a one-town culture with the capacity and agility to become a model city.
  • Watertown is looking to deploy a town-wide Office 365 Professional Learning and Development project that will train all users and create staff Teams resources to build upon into the future.
  • Watertown is making a huge investment in the migration to Office 365, and the ability to conduct this comprehensive training and content development program will elevate it from just another IT software project to something truly transformative.
  1. Perform a cyber security assessment to identify human and technology risks within the environment, analyze and identify gaps in existing cyber security processes, assess vulnerability to external attack and identify steps to remediate identified issues.
  • Watertown has identified Cybersecurity and IT Governance as a top priority and has allocated an ongoing operating budget to support its maintenance. Watertown faces the challenge of developing a comprehensive policy library along with a testing, training, and mitigation program.

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