AMARILLO -- At Monday's Potter County Commissioners Court meeting, funds were approved to upgrade computers in the county's offices before their operating system loses support.
Microsoft is ending virus protection and security updates for Windows XP at the beginning of April, which means that those computers with that system will be exposed to hackers and other attacks.
The price tag for the project is $143,000 which was allocated at the meeting.
Jason Patrick, Potter County's Director of Information Technology, told us that nearly every office has computers that need a new operating system.
"After completing a physical inventory, going around to the various county offices, we've found about 160 machines that either need to be upgraded or replaced or migrated to virtual desktops and so for the next couple of months this is going to be an all-consuming task for the department," said Patrick.
The main offices that will be affected include the Sheriff's office and the Clerk's office. Access to national criminal databases would be denied once XP is exposed.
Potter County Commissioner for Precinct 2, Mercy Murguia told us that this is also a legal issue, as the county is contractually obligated to keep software up to date and protected.
"Since it falls out of the budget cycle it qualifies for funds that are allocated in emergency-type of situations," said Murguia.
Essentially, protecting sensitive information and access to criminal data is worth using unbudgeted funds.
Patrick expects to be done with the upgrades by the end of March.