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ND IT Department spends millions of relief dollars to bring state government into the 21st century

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A couple of weeks ago, the North Dakota Emergency Commission allocated a little less than half of the state’s $1.25 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

$68.3 million went to the state’s IT Department to improve telework and cybersecurity, which is 13 percent of the money approved.

So how will it be used?

North Dakota Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley says the majority of the money will go toward improving telework for state employees.

He tells KX News just over half of the state’s workers did not have the equipment to be able to work remotely.

He says his department has had to purchase about 6,000 laptops, webcams, software and so much more.

Riley says although this is a necessary adjustment now, he believes it’s also just the way the world is moving.

“The state still, still today, accepts thousands of faxes every single day. And frankly, that sucks. In the 21st century, faxes suck,” Riley laughed. “I think that people will find that the citizens would much rather use their phones than stand in line anywhere.”

Much of the remaining money will boost the state’s cyber-defense, during a time where cyberattacks have multiplied.

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