CBS4 Investigation: CDOT Scraps Cloud System; $340,000 In Losses

By Brian Maass

DENVER (CBS4) – A CBS4 Investigation has found the Colorado Department of Transportation paid nearly $16,000 per month for almost two years for a cloud computer backup system that never went ‘live’ and never worked properly.

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Colorado Department of Transportation (credit: CBS)

“We did pay $340,000 for a process that never got to the deployment we were looking for,” said CDOT communications director Amy Ford. “We bought a product that never worked for the security we needed to have”.

cdot cloud backup 10pkg transfer frame 366 CBS4 Investigation: CDOT Scraps Cloud System; $340,000 In Losses

(credit: CBS)

According to contracts, invoices and data gathered during the CBS4 investigation, CDOT entered into a contract in July 2015 to purchase 2,100 licenses from Hewlett-Packard at a cost of $15,750 per month for the three year cloud backup contract.

But Ford says the system was never implemented because it never worked.

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CBS4’s Brian Maass talks with CDOT Communications Director Amy Ford. (credit: CBS)

For roughly two years, she said CDOT worked with software experts, but that the system could never meet CDOT security requirements.

“It never went live.. it never worked,” said Ford. “We weren’t able to get it to the point that we felt the documents we were sharing were secure in that environment. It was a process that didn’t work with the best of intentions for taxpayer dollars. I think it’s fair to say nobody wants to buy a product they can’t implement.”

cdot cloud backup 10pkg transfer frame 1926 CBS4 Investigation: CDOT Scraps Cloud System; $340,000 In Losses

(credit: CBS)

After laying out about $340,000, CDOT pulled the plug on the deal.

But the agency then decided to enter into a new, more expensive agreement with Hewlett-Packard.

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(credit: CBS)

This one costing $15,985.72 per month and running for the next three years. When it’s over, CDOT will have paid $567,000 for the new HP cloud system.

Ford says the new, upgraded system provides ‘military grade’ security.

“We do have a better product now, but it comes with a price,” said Ford.

Asked if taxpayers could get their $340,000 dollars returned for the initial system that didn’t meet CDOT specs, Ford said the agency asked, but HP said no.

However, she said HP agreed to discount the second contract CDOT signed.

CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass has been with the station more than 30 years uncovering waste, fraud and corruption. Follow him on Twitter @Briancbs4.

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