Houston County Schools Weigh Cybersecurity Contract

The Houston County School System began considering a cyberscurity contract proposal Monday, in response to a major malware attack in July that delayed school openings and required reprograming and replacement of hardware.

“We’re losing the cyber war, and Southern schools are a target, because they know our systems aren’t up-to-date,” The Dothan Eagle reported a company officer told the school board. “It is the current state of culture. Schools are a major target,” said Brent Panell, CEO and co-founder for ControlAltProtect, based in Birmingham.

School Superintendent David Sewell said the cyber attack did not include ransomware but was costly, owing to loss of equipment and overtime in working on servers and computers.

Board Chairman Vince Wade told the Eagle the board will have to find funding if it decides to adopt the cybersecurity firm’s proposal.

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“We are on a mission to change what’s happening in Alabama, because frankly, our cyber security sucks,” Panell told board members.

Panell presented a quote for a 24-month contract for $10,800 per month for phase I and $2,000 per month for phase II.

He told the Eagle his company’s intention was to offer “a low-cost introductory offer to the schools is to get its foot in the door to cater to schools statewide, and get the attention of the Alabama State Department of Education.”

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