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Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Gates – Information Technology (2012M-169)


Released: November 23, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to assess the adequacy of the Town's policies and procedures over IT and evaluate the Town's capabilities to restore business processes in the event of an IT system failure for the period January 1, 2011, to April 2, 2012.

Background

The Town of Gates is located in Monroe County with a population of 29,000 residents. The Town is governed by a Town Board comprising the elected Town Supervisor and four elected councilpersons. The Town's appropriations for the 2012 fiscal year were approximately $15 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not adopt IT policies that address topics including personal computer use, password security, and access to sensitive information, nor did the Town have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan (DRP) for resuming critical operations in the event of a system failure. As a result, when a system failure occurred in February 2011, the Town was not prepared and various departmental functions were interrupted from one to six days.
  • Town officials subsequently developed a DRP, completed in January 2012, which we decided to evaluate for effectiveness in the event of any future disruptions. We found that, while the Town still needs to develop and adopt computer policies, its DRP contains all the elements of a comprehensive plan to restore critical services in a timely manner and at minimal cost.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt comprehensive written IT policies and procedures, review them periodically, and update them as needed.
  • Continue to review, update, and test the DRP on a periodic basis including an evaluation of the adequacy of the financial resources provided.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236