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Cyber Security Training Deadline June 14th

HB3834 requiring yearly cyber security training for state and local government offices went into effect immediately when it was signed on June 14, 2019. That means that your cyber security training for this year is due by June 14, 2020.

As the deadline quickly approaches, many people still have questions about who needs training and how to report that your office has completed the course. With the help of information from the Department of Information Resources (DIR) we have put together the following FAQ to help you out.

Who is required to take cyber security training?

State Agencies
-Any employee who uses a computer for at least 25% of their required duties
-ALL elected or appointed officers of the agency must be trained REGARDLESS of how much they use a computer
State Agency Contractors
-Any contractor that has access to a state computer system or a database
Local Governments
-ALL employees who have access to a local government computer
-ALL elected officials NOTE: If the elected board members are PAID, they are considered to be employees, so they need the training. If the elected board members are UNPAID, they are not required to take the training but it is highly recommended

FY19-20 what is the deadline for completing cyber security training?

State Agencies
-June 1, 2020
State Agency Contractors
-During the term of the contract and during any renewal period
Local Governments
-June 14, 2020

How should cyber security training be reported?

State Agencies
-Submit the Executive Acknowledgement of Risk Form in SPECTRIM with the agency security plan
State Agency Contractors
-Send copy of certificate with your bid or directly to client
Local Governments
-Use the self-reporting tool on the DIR website found HERE.  NOTE: Only ONE representative from the local government office will fill this out for the entire office. You DO NOT need to fill in a form for each employee.

What is the deadline for reporting cyber security training compliance?

State Agencies
-June 1, 2020 – biennially
Local Governments
-June 15, 2020 – annually

Is there an extension to the deadline for training or reporting compliance?

No extension are being given for 2020

If you need training for this year, you still have time! Our training is online, on-demand, and only takes one hour to complete. To sign up, please fill in the form HERE.

If you have any questions, please contact Sandy Steele at ssteele@bisconsultants.com


BIS GIS Services

Whether you need a ground up GIS solution or a custom-tailored GIS application, you can rely on BIS’ team of professionals to get the job done.

BIS is a full-service GIS provider specializing in data conversion/management, scripting, online mapping applications, map generation, spatial analysis, statistical analysis, training/support, and other GIS processes. With years of experience, we have structured ourselves to become your source for all your GIS needs to further enable your success. Whether a large publicly traded oil and gas company, a rural local government office, or small business, we have seen and done it all. We have a variety of solutions to fit your business needs and objectives. Regardless of your industry, we can help you realize the value of geospatial data, analysis, visualization and mapping.

Recently we have focused new services on the emerging field of using GIS and statistical analysis to further refine mass appraisal processes. Using new Business Intelligence tools and scripting, we can take your maps and data to further refine the information, thus giving you better insight into the appraisal process. This information is then shared through a web page or some other application that allows you to visualize the data in charts, graphs, maps, and tables. You can then base business decisions from this information in a much more informed manner than just looking at raw data.

For more information contact our GIS department HERE.

Imagery Solutions

Traditionally, collecting overhead imagery for large swaths of land was time consuming and extremely costly. We want you to know that those days are over. BIS has partnered with aerial mapping specialist Beacon Aviation to provide the highest quality aerial imagery, with extremely fast product delivery, at the lowest possible cost. This imagery can be integrated into any business solution to help your mapping and data needs.

BIS was provided an opportunity to team up with a remote sensing company, Beacon Aviation. Beacon is located out of Wood County Texas and has been providing aerial imagery services for over 20 years. Beacon has two planes equipped with camera’s and geo-location technology that provides imagery at 6” or better resolutions with survey grade level of accuracy.

BIS will utilize our suite of GIS skills and products to take Beacon’s imagery to the next level for our customers. Using our GIS software, we can process and build an image service that can be brought into our online web maps or their desktop software. Our customers then access their web map or desktop software and then click through the basemap selector to choose the imagery they want to view. They can then view other GIS data layers that overlay the image service.

With this partnership, Beacon will be able to capture the images and provide us the ortho-rectified image file within two weeks of a flight. We will be able to process that image and have it added to a customers map within a week or two. This means that our customers will have the information they need within weeks not months or even years like many of the other providers deliver.

For more information contact our GIS department HERE.

Mobile Field Data Mapping Solutions

Bring your maps and data into the field with ready to deploy solutions tailored to your business needs. BIS has partnered with PivotPoint and ESRI to provide your company easy to use mobile applications that increase efficiency and time for your field staff. The days of carrying stacks of field cards and figuring out the proper folding techniques for those paper maps are over.

With the advent of mobile device technology, many of the business processes that were traditionally performed in the office can now be efficiently done while performing field operations. This allows your field staff to ensure they have all the necessary information they need to accurately perform their duties in the field as wells as providing additional insight using maps in data stored on a mobile device.

These solutions are native mobile applications (iOS, Android, and Windows) that supports a variety of field workflows based on CAMA integration, from simply digitally marking up record cards and sketches to reviewing and editing property characteristics through wizard type forms.

GIS integration provides the option for a map centric field appraisal experience, and allows georeferenced data generated through the Field App to seamlessly populate ESRI GIS platforms.

For more information contact our GIS department HERE.

Transitioning To A Remote Office

How prepared would your office be if you and your team were required to work from home? The 2020 coronavirus pandemic forced many offices to close to the public and state guidelines insisted that even for an essential business, if possible, employees should work from home. Over the last few weeks businesses found themselves needing to split shifts, change office dynamics and even provide working from home solutions for their staff. Our IT team quickly responded and provided safe solutions for our clients.  

We never know when the need to work from home may not only arise because of a global pandemic but for other reasons such as storm damage or flooding. How resilient would your office systems be if some or all your team had to work remotely? 

BIS can provide many tools, services, and systems that can help. We can supply and configure software to help your team stay in touch and be productive, such as Microsoft Teams, part of selected versions of the Microsoft 365 family. Our IT techs can set up SSL VPN remote desktop connections between your core office IT infrastructure and your team. We can supply desktops, laptops, web cameras, docking stations, monitors, network switches and cables to help with a remote office setup.  

If you need IT solutions for working from home, please call our IT team today and get a quote. We understand that having to relocate your team can be expensive, so we work with our vendors to get you the equipment you need at the lowest possible price.  

Call 1-800-247-9045 or email support@bisconsultants.com

Virtual Phones Help You Stay Connected With Your Customers

When social distancing closed the doors for many offices around the state one thing most businesses did not consider beforehand was the ability to answer calls while working remotely. If you had to quickly switch your office to a remote working environment could your team take their desktop phones home and keep in touch? Are you able to install an application onto a computer or smartphone and stay connected this way?  

If you answered no, it might be time to consider upgrading your phone system options. You can either replace your existing phone system or you can use another third-party system to add in one or more services as you need. We can supply and install digital conference phones with their own number for your ARB meetings. Our IT team can also provide your team with a software-based phone system that can be configured to allow incoming calls to ring directly to a cell phone or laptop. The call can then be placed on hold or even transferred to other extensions just like you were working in the office.  

There are so many ways to communicate these days, from messaging services, emails, video conferencing, even social media, but the humble telephone is still an essential part of the modern office. Is it time to upgrade your phone system? Call Britt or Blake for more information. 1-800-247-9045 or email bcallear@bisconsultants.com

IT Support From BIS

Computers save time and allow us to do more with less but can also be one of the most frustrating parts of everyday office life. How many times do we find ourselves impatiently waiting for our computer to do something? Do you dread picking up the phone to call IT support because you don’t want to listen to an automated system tell you how important your call is? 

We understand: you want to get on with your work helped by technology rather than hindered! Our Texas-based IT Techs are friendly, knowledgeable, and responsive. We are the IT support you and your team want to call. BIS IT Maintenance is much more than solving problems when they arise. We work behind the scenes to keep your computers up to date with the latest software and security patches. We make sure your anti-virus is current and monitor your backups.  

Our techs understand that IT issues don’t always start at 8am or stop at 5pm so we have a dedicated-on call after hours serviceWe aim to solve problems before they become problems, so that you and your team can keep working.  

As an IT maintenance client, you can reach out for support by phone, email and now online. We have a brand-new system that lets you easily log an issue for the IT team.  Make sure to register to submit tickets online HERE

Our expertise is not limited to fixing problems with your existing equipment. We can replace computers, servers, printers, scanners, and more. We have software solutions such as hosted email to help you and your team do their job efficiently. Whatever your IT needs are, let us know how we can serve you. 

If you would like more information on our IT maintenance service please email bcallear@bisconsultants.com

Remote Solutions – Online Forms

The COVID-19 global pandemic in late 2019 and early 2020 caused many businesses to close their offices to the public. The BIS Online Forms service will help you to reduce unnecessary foot traffic in your office and make processing forms more efficient. The system allows property owners to conveniently file appraisal related forms via the web. Appraisal district staff are then able to review submitted forms within the BIS Online Forms system and approve, deny, or request more information from the property owner without any need for face-to-face interaction.


Some additional features and benefits of BIS Online Forms include but are not limited to:

  • The system provides a safe and secure way to transmit sensitive, personal information.
  • Property owners automatically receive an email confirming that their application has been successfully filed, so there is no need for them to contact your office to confirm receipt.
  • Property owners automatically receive email notifications when any action is taken on their application.
  • Forms are easily organized through filtering and sorting features.
  • Property owners can upload supporting documents with their forms.
  • System Administrators can separate and assign forms to different departments to review and process.
  • Easily locate forms to address property owners’ questions without having to dig through a stack of paper forms.
  • Built-in archiving eliminates forms getting lost or misplaced.
  • Property owners can access ‘read only’ versions of their archived forms.
  • Saves postage expenses since the ‘form revision’ process removes the need to mail forms back and forth to property owners.
  • Easily export completed forms from the Online Forms system and import them into your CAMA software.
  • All forms within the system reflect up-to-date information and mirror the forms provided by the State Comptroller’s office.

BIS Online Forms currently supports the following forms:

  • Homestead
  • Agricultural Use
  • Business Personal Property
  • Disabled Veteran
  • Freeport


If you have questions about the BIS Online Forms system or would like a demo, contact us today at webmaster@bisconsultants.com or call us at 1-800-247-9045.

Remote Solutions – Virtual Meetings

BIS Consulting’s online services have always been helpful but considering recent events they are now becoming essential. With the doors locked to most appraisal districts across the state, many are wondering how to continue to connect with taxpayers for meetings, informals and protests.

If you have a BIS-hosted website we are offering a free enhancement that allows your taxpayers to chat with you directly from your home page. If your taxpayer is visiting your site and has a question, they can type in the chat box and a message will be sent in real time to the contact of your choice in the office. This add-on is easily configured to reflect your office hours. Anyone that messages outside of those hours will receive an alert and will be prompted to leave a message.

After appraisal notices go out, your taxpayers usually stop in your office for an informal meeting to discuss their values. You can now take these meetings virtual by upgrading your BIS hosted website with a scheduling plugin. This allows taxpayers to request time to meet with your appraisers via Zoom.

Are you new to Zoom? No worries!

We have been working closely with the company and are excited to now offer BIS Zoom Support. Here is what is included:

Zoom Basic Training Webinar

  • How to hold a public meeting
  • How to handle executive sessions
  • Waiting room basics
  • Breakout room basics
  • Managing recordings

Essential Documentation

  • Security settings checklist
  • Board member reference sheet
    • How to join meeting
    • How to present
    • Basic audio/video troubleshooting
  • In-Meeting quick reference sheet
  • Taxpayer reference sheet to post to your website
    • How to join
    • How to participate in a public meeting
    • Basic audio/video troubleshooting

Access to virtual round-table meetings

Access to all future BIS Zoom webinars

If you would like BIS Zoom support please request an estimate by emailing ssteele@bisconsultants.com

If you would like to upgrade your website with the chat or scheduling features, please contact our Sites Department at webmaster@bisconsultants.com

Remote Solutions – Online Protest

As Notices of Appraised Value start hitting mailboxes, appraisal districts all over Texas are gearing up for protest season. Since most offices are currently closed to the public, this protest season introduces additional strain on what was already the busiest and most stressful part of the year for you and your staff.


The BIS Online Protest system helps improve the appeals process for both the appraisal district and the taxpayer, allowing you to receive protests, review and upload evidence files, handle requests for ARB evidence packets, conduct taxpayer to appraiser or agent to appraiser discussions, offer settlement and waivers, and much more. Your appraisers can quickly and easily work with taxpayers without the need for any face-to-face interaction, saving your district time and making the process less daunting for all users.


For the 2020 protest season, we’ve made big changes to the BIS Online Protest system to improve usability, add features, and make the protest experience better for taxpayers, agents, and the appraisal district.


These changes include but are not limited to:

  • Updates to reflect the changes made in the Comptroller’s latest Notice of Protest form.
  • Configurable reasons for protest to handle individual district needs.
  • Telephone numbers can now be required when a taxpayer or agent is registering to file a protest.
  • Text files can now be uploaded as evidence.
  • Added ability for protesters and appraisers to specify an evidence type classification to help manage evidence files.
  • Added a new feature to automatically flag protests that indicate possible requests for ARB evidence packets to be reviewed by district staff.
  • Added ability to display custom alert message from the district when a protester chooses their preferred hearing type.
  • Telephone hearing option on the Notice of Protest is now configurable to handle individual district preference on whether to ask the protester for a telephone number for the ARB to contact them, or to not ask for a telephone number and refer the protester to the county specific hearing procedures.
  • Protesters can now choose to receive their ARB hearing notice by First-Class mail, certified mail or email.
  • Improved ‘All Active Protests’ view with better sorting and filtering to improve appraiser workflow. Also added three new columns for protest submitted date, hearing type, and hearing notice selection so that the information can be easily accessed and exported.
  • Improved ‘Recently Updated Protests’ view with better sorting, filtering, and alerts to improve appraiser workflow.
  • Improved the organization of closed and archived protests. Closed protests can now be viewed by year from a dropdown selection.
  • Added ability to show a system-wide message that will display on each protest.
  • User comments can now be disabled system wide.


For a demo of the BIS Online Protest system, contact us today at webmaster@bisconsultants.com or by calling us at 1-800-247-9045.

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