COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/SCRN/WVOC) - Cyber-security consultants say South Carolina should spend $15-million next year – for starters – to better protect residents' personal data.
That's the estimated cost for setting up a statewide information security division, training employees and taking steps to better protect data in the fiscal year that starts July 1st.
Mike Wyatt of Deloitte Consultants told the state Budget and Control Board Wednesday that South Carolina's current decentralized approach to computer security makes it hard to protect sensitive data.
The company's recommendations closely follow those by the state's inspector general.
A bill passed by the Senate that includes those steps would centralize policy standards while letting each agency's technology employees carry them out.
Consultants expect set-up costs to be nearly $15-million, and recurring costs to be about $7-million each year.
State Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom says changes are definitely needed, but it's important to find the best solution for the money.
“We're trying to find the sweet spot on the back there,” Eckstrom says. “We can spend a great deal on the front end to establish controls. We had to do that. We had an emergency.
"Going forward, our goal is to reduce those costs...to make those costs more sustainable long term. And I think that the consultants are helping us with that.”
Meanwhile, the Budget and Control Board has voted to seek bids for the next contract covering the monitoring of taxpayers' credit following the hacking of personal information at the state Department of Revenue.
Lawmakers want to extend and enhance credit services for millions of residents at risk of identity theft and other potential problems.
They'll seek a multi-year contract that transfers customers who enrolled with Experian under a non-bid, emergency contract that the governor negotiated.
Lawmakers hope a competitive bid attracts better ID theft protections.
A measure approved by the Senate would require extending state-paid credit services up to 10 years and encourages more services than currently are provided by Experian, which informs customers about new accounts after they're opened.