6e984ee274ee020da02eef5b1f22fcf8-300x225Short-staffed following the February departure of the district’s Information Technology Director and later a network administrator, Superintendent Michael Delahanty was concerned about the management of the district network.

Delahanty recently tasked the district’s web operations specialist – David Halpin – to step in and serve the IT director role. According to Delahanty, Halpin was the employee to suggest working with Neoscope, a Portsmouth-based technology solutions company.

Neoscope contracted with the town of Salem for three years in early 2012 after Town Manager Keith Hickey made a decision to outsource the entire IT department, resulting in the loss of four jobs.

The choice at that time was controversial, and included one of the former IT employees filing a right-to-know request and later an ethics complaint against the town.

Delahanty said that he thinks that Halpin coming up with Neoscope as an option for the school district was just coincidence.

He added that the school district’s plan is very different from the town’s outsourcing approach.

“Our needs are broader and I think more complex because we have business continuity, business operations side of things but also a tremendous amount of educational software that we use that really requires almost daily attention. It would be a very different relationship than to just have someone manage all of that from outside.”

Neoscope is under a two month, preventative contract with SAU 57, which is set to continue until the end of June.

The district is getting maintenance and monitoring, server updates and assistance to their IT staff. Neoscope staff are monitoring the servers 24/7 to ensure no further security breaches.

When Neoscope was first brought in, their mission was to eradicate a nasty computer virus which originated from a workstation in the district.

The virus was in the “Vobfus” family of viruses that affected over 25,000 students, faculty, and staff at Salem State University in Massachusetts in March. Neoscope previously ran into the virus with a manufacturing company.

According to Tim Martin, CEO and founder of Neoscope, it didn’t take long for his company to contain the bug.

“Within 72 hours we had all of (the SAU 57) critical services, email, all of the teacher’s apps, student report cards, website – all restored,” said Martin.

Delahanty said the virus hamstrung the district for about a week and infected nearly 100 servers.

Now that almost 18 months have passed and Neoscope has built relationships with both the town and school, Martin wants to set the record straight.

He explained that when the town began working with his company two years ago, Neoscope elected to stay out of the controversy that erupted.

“There was a lot of inaccurate information that was kind of put out there by the disgruntled ex-internal IT staff,” he said.

“We stayed out of it. We didn’t comment on anything online. We didn’t reach out to any press. We said – we’re going to go in there and prove ourselves. We’ve been successful in every way that we said we would.”

Martin said that his company has successfully saved Salem over $200,000 a year, improving efficiencies and beginning to implement security policies for the town.

He denied that Neoscope had any previous relationship with Salem employees or elected officials, all of which was alleged in early 2012.

The school district is paying Neoscope on a monthly flat rate, and Delahanty said that discussions are still taking place on what to do after the contract expires.

In May, the school district hired on a new IT Director ahead of schedule, inking David Hasbany to a contract through to the end of next school year and a $90,000 salary.

Delahanty said he wants to reach a decision by the end of June on whether to extend Neoscope’s relationship with SAU 57.