Hello UASI Tech Work Group,
At our August meeting, the following topics were covered.
- David Morgan with Texas DPS Cyber provided an overview of how their group uses Slack for communication.
- Slack allows members of their team to communicate from anywhere, and the system is independent of DPS’s enterprise software which allows for redundancy in the event of a loss of service with their enterprise systems. It can be accessed via phone app or the web.
- The system can be linked in to other Slack instances to allow for communication between groups that don’t normally work together, or users can be added on a temporary basis (and these temporary users don’t count towards the organization’s recurring costs).
- The system supports both text posts and photos/documents, and it is organized into channels (in a manner similar to how Microsoft Teams has named Teams). Access to the channels in Slack can be controlled on a per-user basis.
- In addition to his Slack demonstration, David Morgan also informed the group about the DPS Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT).
- This is a free, deployable DPS asset designed to assist state agencies and local governments in their response to cyberattacks.
- The team can assist in both the initial phase as well as later phases (after the responsible party or their contractors have already started investigation or remediation work).
- The group was created because a need was seen for a response-focused, deployable group within the state. There are also resources available through Texas Military Forces and via Texas DIR, but those either have longer lead times, don’t offer response capabilities, or have associated costs.
- Tech Points-of-Contact provided status updates on their systems.
- Justin Jurek accepted a new position with Fort Bend County and is no longer the region’s Jetty administrator. Rodney Grimmer (email@example.com) is the temporary contact for any technical issues that arise. Fort Bend County hopes to fill the vacancy soon. The job is currently posted. There are no technical updates for Jetty at this time.
- Meghan Arthur is currently on leave and will be out for several weeks. In the interim, please contact Megan Lowery (firstname.lastname@example.org) for any issues with i-INFO or AlertFM. Megan will be collecting the data provided on the surveys sent out recently about those two technologies and should have updates for the group on them in September.
- CJ Pacheco provided an update (via email) that there were no new technical items to share about WebEOC, but he did expect the state to create the incident for the impending Gulf weather soon and a regional notification would be sent when it was available. In the interim, it is recommended that jurisdictions ensure their users can log into WebEOC (contact Sub-Administrators for account unlocking) and they can use the Training incident and training version of the STAR to ensure that staff understand WebEOC processes. (Note: This update was before the updated track was given by NWS on Thursday afternoon; the need for a Texas WebEOC Incident for Ida may have changed in the interim, and if one is not needed then it will not be created.)
- An update was not available for GIS.
- Ian Feldman informed the group that there were no technical updates for Haystax.
- The group reviewed the draft Purpose and Objective Statements sent in July’s notes. The only change made was to the second-to-last Objective statement as noted below. These will be forwarded on to RCC for approval.
- Purpose: The Technology Work Group serves as a forum for jurisdictions, agencies, and other partners in the Houston UASI region to discuss the development, enhancement, and integration of technological systems that support the prevention of, protection against, mitigation of, response to, and recovery from acts of terrorism and other disasters.
- Review and analyze existing and proposed regional technologies to ensure that they satisfy the goals, objectives, and implementation steps in the UASI Strategic Plan, meet identified gaps for our region, and adhere to the Southeast Texas Technology Governance Document and other related guidance.
- Implement the direction and priorities for the development of technological resources as set by the Regional Collaboration Committee, and to collaboratively resolve issues related to problems or enhancement requests as assigned by the Committee.
- Serve as a hub for the administrators of grant-funded regional technologies to discuss topics affecting their technology or other technology systems in use in the region.
- Stay abreast of current developments in technologies that relate to emergency management through the sharing of ideas, hosting of demonstrations, and completion of research on specific topics (normally at the direction of the Regional Collaboration Committee).
- Maintain awareness of the status of technology systems in use across the region (grant-funded or otherwise)
for the purpose of advising the Regional Collaboration Committee and jurisdictional emergency managers upon request.
- In the absence of a full-time or interim administrator for a grant-funded regional technology, and at the direction of the Regional Collaboration Committee, provide administrative support for that technology until such time as the administrator position is filled.
- Work on the EPI Needs Assessment is currently on hold. Lach and Ian will work to identify someone who can lead the group on a temporary basis until the Jetty administrator position is filled.
- Ian Feldman informed the group that, while outside of the normal Tech area, the Houston Fusion Center also has an open grant-funded position for a Cybersecurity Analyst which closes on 31 August. Members should feel free to share with any interested individuals.
The next meeting will be on Thursday 30 September 2021 at 1:00 pm via HSIN Connect. Please send any presentation or demonstration requests to Lach Mullen (email@example.com) and Ian Feldman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Lach and Ian