“We need to focus on new technologies, because the solutions we envision today may be obsolete 10 years from now,” declared Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. She’s not alone in thinking so; mayors mentioned technology and data in 20% of their speeches in 2016, earning them a place on the list of top ten most important issues facing cities.
“Cities are using data and technology to make themselves smarter, more effective, and enhance service delivery,” states this Fast Company article. In the last several years, a number of cities have committed to becoming “smart,” with schools, communities and businesses leveraging tech to become better connected and more productive.
One city in Northeast Illinois (population under 30,000) is a great example.
Between its Police Department and patrol cars as well as providing services to its residents online, the city requires 24/7 internet connectivity, 365 days a year, without fail. If internet service goes down, all communications in the Village Hall and Police Department halt.
The IT Specialist for the city contacted us when their previous connectivity solution, consisting of internet and hardware failover redundant systems, was causing recurrent outages and communications hiccups—the very problems the systems were installed to prevent.
In addition, the city’s firewall, an important requirement for protection from cyber threats, couldn’t be managed in-house. The existing outside support was slow or unresponsive. Managing website filtering, a simple task, had become a risky time-suck.
A one-size-fits-all filtering solution couldn’t meet the city’s needs. For example, Investigations needed to be able to get to sites that would be in appropriate for others, like child trafficking, solicitation, etc.
To add a further layer to the challenge, the city’s budget was tight, as it is for most municipalities. At the same time, the annual costs of their current system were high.
After a thorough review, we replaced the city’s system with a unified threat management (UTM) system, installed in 3 locations. The immediate benefits were:
- Uninterrupted, faster internet service.
- A fully-functioning email system.
- Highly reliable equipment with an easy-to-use, intuitive web-based interface.
- Local support through us, as well as superior 24/7 tech support through the system provider.
- Web filtering groups that allowed each department to access the sites they needed while protecting access to sites they didn’t need.
- A 36% reduction in annual costs.
Later, the Police Department had a problem with their SPAM filtering system blocking valid emails. We integrated email filtering into their existing UTM system which allowed them easy control. They were very impressed with the results:
“What little technical support we have needed has been top notch. The equipment performs as advertised and does what it is supposed to do. Future Link has been great and very responsive to our needs.”—City IT Specialist
Facing some of these same issues in your city office? We can help your municipality run better and potentially cut costs. Click here for a chat with one of our experts to learn how.