The District's Digital Evolution Brings New Challenges

From floppy disks to flash drives to files in the cloud, technology has come a long way over 60 years at the District.

“We have moved countless applications into the cloud environment. This will continue to increase over time,” said Tom Hughes, Information Technology Bureau chief.

Where once nearly every District task was recorded on paper, most documents are now a digital file. But with this ease comes new security concerns which are constantly evolving to keep up with increasing technological advances, said Hughes who has helped spearhead these changes.

Staff using a desktop computer and phone from 1980

“Technology used to be confined within the District walls, which provided us with  security, but now mobile devices and working from home has provided new security challenges,” said Hughes. “Security requirements have greatly escalated. Things like ransomware we didn’t even have to think about five years ago.”

New apps are always being developed to better help District staff do their job. To further help secure the District, ITB staff make a concentrated effort to train on the application and evaluate it for security threats.

Today, the District is more digital than ever, with increasing efforts to digitize data in several sections. For example, GIS is working with ITB to develop new tools to visualize data.

“You’ll be able to look at a map through a virtual reality lens. You’ll also be able to use drones to do LiDAR and view that in virtual reality,” Hughes said.

While the technology may change through the decades, one thing remains constant. ITB staff is here to support the mission and help staff do their jobs.