Commission considers use of VPN for auditor’s office

By Braden Moles -

EATON — The Preble County Board of Commissioners met with representatives from Eaton Computer to discuss the use of a virtual private network (VPN) for employees of the auditor’s office.

According to Robert Unruh of Eaton Computer, the type of security currently used by the courthouse is an RSA key, which is a physical key fob that creates a one-time passcode for a user.

“So with VPN, you get a plethora of options,” said Scott Weller, a certified Cisco engineer. “No matter where you’re at in the world, as long as you have an internet connection, you’ll be supplied with a secure connection back to your applications, your databases, your resources, and those can be secured similarly to how you’re doing it now with an RSA key.”

VPNs can also be secured through other forms of authentication, such as using an app that provides a one-time password on the user’s phone.

“Rather than having a little key chain token that you carry around with you everywhere to get access to your application, you’re already going to have your phone,” Weller said. “Everyone’s going to have their phone. You get your one-time password through your phone, and that allows you access to your different resources, databases and applications.”

Waller stressed that major corporations and companies use VPNs, so it would not put the county’s financial systems in jeopardy.

“99.9 percent of all ransomware and security attacks happened for one reason only: somebody opened the door,” Unruh said. “They didn’t hack into the VPN, they didn’t hack into the firewall. Somebody clicked on an email and let it in.”

When asked by Commissioner Rachael Vonderhaar if Eaton Computer has the staffing to support the county, Weller said Eaton Computer works with other large organizations.

“We recently struck up a partnership with Wilberforce University,” he said. “We helped them with a lot of their IT needs. Some [are] very large manufacturers that have hundreds of users. We work at scale, so we could absolutely support you.”

Commissioner Vonderhaar said she likes the idea of a VPN.

“The accounting software falls under the authority of the auditor’s office, and she should have access to utilize it the way she should for the benefit of the county,” Commissioner Vonderhaar said. “And so with that, that means access through our system for that to take place.”

Following the discussion, no formal action was taken, but a letter was later sent to Dayton Technology Group informing them that the auditor’s office would no longer be using their service.

The Preble County Board of Commissioners meet every Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Preble County Courthouse. These meetings are open to the public.

By Braden Moles

Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles

Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles