City of Vincent, Alabama Addresses Cybersecurity, Data Loss, and Tech Support Risks with ALM-Endorsed IT in a Box

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Dave Mims
Dave Mims, CEO

Less than an hour outside of Birmingham, Alabama, the City of Vincent describes itself as progressive while retaining an “old towne” feel. The area combines a quiet country living experience (with a population of more than 2,000 people) with untapped economic opportunities. Home to the state’s largest living Christmas tree, the City of Vincent also offers a variety of local shops along with excellent K-12 schools in the Shelby County School System.

Typical of many small cities in the 21st century, the combination of steady population growth along with the technology and internet revolution affecting how organizations operate has led the City of Vincent to a point where it needed to reassess its information technology.

Challenge

Vincent struggled with a few technology challenges that made life difficult for city staff.

  • Performance and support issues: Computers and servers intermittently froze or crashed, and city staff did not have someone to contact about IT issues. Lacking technical help, the city found that its machines either lacked essential software or ran inconsistent software across servers and PCs that was hard to manage.
  • Lack of enterprise- or business-class software: The city ran free versions of antivirus software and free email software. While this kind of software may work well for individual consumers, it struggled to handle the demands of a city.
  • Uncertainty around cybersecurity: Cybersecurity best practices were not implemented, followed, and monitored, leading to uncertainty if the city were to fall victim to a cyberattack.
  • Uncertainty around data backup and disaster recovery: While the city had a data backup solution in place, it was unclear who managed the backups, whether the solution comprehensively backed up all critical data (including body camera video), and if their data could be recovered in case of an incident.
  • Uncertainty around records retention schedule compliance: The free email software and uncertainty about backing up body camera video led to some ambiguity about whether the city would be able to comply with records retention schedules pertaining to email and body camera video.
  • Dissatisfaction with website: The city’s website looked outdated, poorly designed, and unorganized. It was also difficult for city employees to upload and manage website content without technical help.

Overall, the uncertainty and lack of IT support meant the city needed to consider a cost-effective solution to address these problems in a way that was tailored to their situation. This is where “IT in a Box,” endorsed by the Alabama League of Municipalities, came to the rescue.

Solution

IT in a Box offered the City of Vincent municipal-experienced, Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS)-trained technology professionals who were ready to address these ongoing problems. Once implemented, IT in a Box’s comprehensive, multi-faceted solution included:

  • 24×7 helpdesk: Dedicated 24x7x365 helpdesk support staff now provide Vincent IT support both remotely and onsite, depending on the issue. City staff now simply place a call to receive immediate support for their technology needs.
  • Cybersecurity and computer maintenance: IT in a Box guards Vincent against cyberattacks, viruses, ransomware, and data breaches by keeping their servers and computers patched, protected, and healthy—24/7. IT in a Box includes always-on monitoring and alerting for issues, enterprise-class antivirus protection, automated computer maintenance, ongoing software patching to keep the city secure, and regular training to keep city staff on guard and alert.
  • Policy and compliance: Vincent now uses enterprise-class email that not only offers better usability and performance for city staff but also helps the city comply with records retention schedules. In addition, IT in a Box now ensures that sensitive information such as body camera video is properly backed up and following records retention schedules.
  • Onsite and offsite data backup and disaster recovery: Uncertainty went away with onsite and offsite data backups that help ensure both quick recovery after small incidents (like a server failure) or a larger incident (such as a tornado). Quarterly testing and audits ensure the city’s data is safe and recoverable.
  • Vendor management: VC3  now handles any technical issues with hardware and software vendors, resolving issues that used to take up valuable city staff time. In addition, VC3  started an audit of the city’s telecom and internet services to explore where they might save money and improve overall services.
  • New city website: Vincent received a modern fresh custom-designed website with VC3  hosting the website and managing the content. Plus, city staff can now also edit and update website content themselves.

Results

After the city switched over to IT in a Box, they experienced many positive results.

  • Responsive IT support led to increased productivity and employee morale: Instead of struggling to figure out IT issues on their own or just putting up with frozen computers, employees now receive remote or onsite IT support for issues that are often resolved in minutes or hours. Hardware and software now works—and that lightens the burden on city staff.
  • The city is now prepared for a cyberattack: Ransomware, malware, or viruses will strike when least expected. Through a combination of proactive IT support, cybersecurity best practices, enterprise-class antivirus software, and offsite data backup, the city has the right pieces in place to protect itself.
  • The city reduced the risk of permanent data loss: No more uncertainty about data backup and recovering data after a disaster such as a fire, flood, tornado, or ransomware attack. IT in a Box’s onsite and unlimited offsite data backup storage components—tested regularly—reassures the city that it can recover its data after an incident.
  • The city now knows it can comply with records retention schedules: Enterprise-class email software and unlimited offsite data storage for body camera video following retention policies ensures that the city can comply with records retention schedules.
  • Vendor management saved the city time and money: With municipal-experienced senior engineers supporting the city, all hardware and software vendor issues now get handled by IT in a Box—saving valuable staff time and eliminating frustrating vendor calls. Plus, our audit of the city’s internet and telecom services will most likely save the city money.
  • Productivity and online reputation improved with a modernized website: VC3  modernized and redesigned the city’s website to give its online presence a fresh look and feel. The current website now presents visitors with bold visuals that show off the city to website visitors, clearer organization of information, and the ability for city staff to now update and edit content.

“The City of Vincent began using IT in a Box back in October of 2018. They have been extremely timely in resolving any IT issues we have. The real test came when my computer completely crashed (it was not even a year old) and they were able to retrieve all my files and take care of the entire situation with Dell. I was very impressed!!!!” – Becky Landers, City Clerk/Treasurer, City of Vincent, Alabama

Contact Us Today

If you’re interested in learning more, contact us about IT in a Box.

About VC3

VC3 is a leading managed services provider with a focus on municipal government and mid-market businesses. Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina, VC3 forms partnerships with organizations to achieve their technology goals and harness their data. In addition to providing comprehensive managed IT solutions, VC3 offers cybersecurity, cloud services, website design, custom application development, and business intelligence services. Visit www.vc3.com to learn more.

Among the features VC3 delivers in “IT in a Box” are cybersecurity and computer maintenance, 24×7 U.S.-based helpdesk for remote and onsite support, data backup with unlimited offsite data backup storage for disaster recovery, records and document management, email, body camera and squad car camera video archiving with unlimited offsite video storage following record retention policies, information security policy and compliance, a custom designed website that is ADA-compliant and mobile-ready, and vendor management and procurement. Read more about IT in a Box.

Original Date: 12/10/2019