Leesburg Plans Next Steps for IT Independence

The Town of Leesburg is moving closer to being internet-independent from the Loudoun County government.

At its Monday night work session, the Town Council discussed a two-prong approach to move off the county’s internet network by the county-imposed deadline of June 30, 2022. In a process expected to be approved by the council during its Tuesday business meeting, part one of the plan is more conceptual and will involve investigating the best data center approach for the town. Deputy IT Director John Callahan said the town staff, with the assistance of an outside consultant, will evaluate whether the best option for Leesburg is for the town’s network to be completely on premises, co-located, on the cloud, or a hybrid approach. The town currently utilizes a hybrid approach, Callahan said, with some platforms like MUNIS and Lucity available via the cloud. Cost estimates for each approach would be included in the report, which is expected to be presented to the council for review in October. The town’s Technology & Communications Commission also will offer its recommendations prior to council adoption.

After the best path forward on network location is determined, part two of the study will involve a more detailed plan. Callahan said the town wants to ensure it has two connections to the internet once it is off the county’s network and will tackle other items in the IT strategic plan adopted by the council earlier this year, including security, resilience, disaster recovery and more. That plan also will include a timeline on how to achieve each step. This second part of the plan is expected to be presented in concert with next year’s proposed fiscal year 2021 budget, Callahan said.

The town staff’s recommended approach was expected to be placed on the council’s consent agenda for its May 14 meeting. Council members Ron Campbell and Tom Dunn were absent from Monday’s meeting.

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