Feb 28, 2022 - News

How Dallas can combat data loss

Illustration of a padlock with a cursor shape as the keyhole.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Searching for and recovering data lost during a mass deletion will likely cost the City of Dallas $750,000, according to a report by Kirkland & Ellis.

Why it matters: The city’s IT department relied on one person who had received five days of training to correctly migrate millions of files of Dallas Police Department data to a new server.

  • The city is also paying hundreds of thousands to the law firm to investigate the data loss.

What they’re saying: Kirkland said the city is “fortunate” that the consequences from the loss weren’t worse.

  • “It is critical that DPD and its officers are able to collect and maintain evidence in a secure way that protects the integrity of each investigation.”

Recommendations: Before the data loss, the IT department had no “data redundancy plan,” which might have allowed for a “soft delete,” the report said. That should change.

  • IT employees should be cross-trained to prevent a "single point of failure."
  • The data budget might need to be expanded, especially in the police department, which should have a dedicated information officer to ensure department-specific needs are met.
  • A two-step authentication process should be in place to complete steps in data migration.

The bottom line: Kirkland & Ellis recommends Dallas complete a citywide analysis of its data needs to determine what types of information is being stored and for how long it should be saved.


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