It’s safe to
say that we still find too much uncertainty when it comes to data backup at
cities. Typically, we investigate and find that the city has the potential for
we often see the following common risks:
overlook or too lightly consider the critical offsite data backup component as
part of an overall data backup and disaster recovery strategy. Why do cities
need to re-think offsite data backup so badly? Here’s why.
An offsite component
to your data backup strategy that considers the points above will help to ensure
that you have a mechanism in place that safeguards your data in the event of a disaster.
The investment pays off in so many ways, encompassing disaster recovery,
insurance, liability, security, and compliance. Onsite data backup is great,
and it’s better than nothing. But offsite data backup completes the picture and
gives you peace of mind.
assess your offsite data backup? Reach out to us with any questions.
deals in documents. That’s the way you capture, retain, and share much of your
information. You may still use a lot of paper documents or store your documents
somewhat chaotically on servers and computers. And you know that situation
makes it tough to store, access, and track documents.
With open records laws and higher importance placed on electronic information, you may consider upgrading to a modern document management system. But will it immensely help you compared to what you have now? Most likely. Here’s how.
document management systems are often quite an advance versus what cities
currently use. The basic theme of the advantages listed above are speed and
efficiency. The faster you can find, access, edit, and finalize documents, the
more time you save—and that gives you margin to tackle the many other items on
your busy plate. Added security also helps not only with protection against
hackers but also by ensuring that city employees access only the documents for
which they have permission.
about upgrading the way you manage documents? Send us a note and we’ll talk to you
in more detail.
breaches have become a regular part of the news. It seems that every day we
hear about a new attempt by hackers to steal sensitive information from large
companies and government agencies. These big cases hide the fact that many
hackers attack smaller cities because they are easy targets.
smaller cities especially focus on preventing hackers from stealing sensitive
information like social security numbers, credit card information, and other
personal identifying information? After making an effort to classify data based
on sensitivity and identifying where it resides in your city, you’ll want to do
best information security will not prevent the most sophisticated hackers from
stealing data. However, there’s a difference between being an open target and
significantly lessening the risk. Think about an unlocked house with open doors and windows. By starting
with the tips above, you’re taking steps to lock down your house. Threats will
still exist, but you are decreasing the likelihood of something happening.
start assessing the state of your data security? Reach out to us and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.
going to a restaurant where you look at the menu and it’s just a list of 100
items. There are no sections of the menu for “Appetizers,” “Entrees,” or
“Desserts.” Or maybe the menu is organized around themes that relate to things
important to the restaurant like “Fresh from the Farmer’s Market,” “For
Vegans,” or “Chef’s Favorites.” That’s nice, but...where are the entrees?
your citizens may feel about your city’s website. Often, it’s easier to just
put information “wherever” on your website or organize it in a way that
benefits you rather than the people looking for it. In today’s Internet age,
people are scanners, not readers. They’re scanning websites quickly to find the
information they want—and they grow impatient when websites don’t intuitively
deliver up the information they want.
So how can
you make sure your city’s website content connects better with your audience?
Here are five questions you should ask about the information you put on your
take extra care in organizing your website, it’s the difference between piles
of books on the floor versus going to a public library. At a public library,
books are organized by an overall system that’s easy for people to navigate.
They can search by author, topic, title, and many other labels, and it’s easy
to move around and find what they want. The same needs to be true of your
you’re a small city and you don’t have that much information on your website,
still take the time to organize the information you do have. You will help your
citizens more and appear better organized to potential residents or business
owners wishing to relocate to your city.
To talk about these tips in more detail, reach out to us.
discussions about transitioning existing onsite hardware into the cloud, non-technical
city administrators and employees understandably sometimes wonder what IT staff
or a vendor will do once there is nothing or very little onsite hardware to
manage. If nothing is there, what’s there to do? If a city just accesses cloud
services over the Internet, then it seems like the IT staff or vendor’s role
(or unfortunately, depending on your point of view!), there is still plenty for
IT staff or a vendor to do. Cloud technology has certainly shaken up the world
of technology, and it constantly requires new skill sets and ways of managing
Here are a
few critical areas where your IT staff or vendor will spend much of their time.
there are more technical, complex, and lesser priority IT activities still
required to manage the cloud. But you can see that there is plenty to keep your
IT staff or vendor busy. It’s worth noting that skill sets have changed so fast
that you will occasionally find people who distrust the cloud. Often, they are
not equipped with the knowledge and know-how to manage your technology through
the cloud. Your IT staff or vendor needs to:
about transitioning to the cloud? Give
us a shout and we’ll help answer them.
In Part 1, we talked about the capital expenses of hardware and software such as purchasing, licenses, procurement, asset management, maintenance, and repair. In this post, we look more at some of the ongoing operational expenses related to aging technology.
expenses can sneak up on cities because they are less apparent and often
involve reactive, unplanned expenses. Like a leech, aging technology
operationally eats away at your city’s money and time in a few areas.
As part of
lowering your operational costs, it helps to consider using an IT vendor that
costs less than adding a full time employee and has an experienced team of
engineers who can quickly and efficiently handle your ongoing technology needs.
By investing in proactive IT support, you take care of many operational
technology needs in one fell swoop from data backup to security. Staying on top
of these operational technology areas helps keep your costs low and
Interested in addressing your operational IT costs and risks? Give us a shout to talk in more detail.
cities modernize their technology, they end up asking, “Why did we wait so
long?” The financial and productivity ripple effects are often so immediate and
startling that it's like getting a positive boost of energy and morale. In
addition, real financial impact results from both a reduction in capital
expenses and operational expenses.
focuses on the cost savings that accompany a reduction in capital expenses for
hardware and software. As you will see, there are many parts and pieces that
affect your budget simply by focusing on the hardware and software you own or
hardware and software suffers from two major disadvantages. First, it’s simply
old, expensive to maintain, and unable to perform at a sufficient capacity.
Second, it doesn’t make financial sense compared to modern and emerging
technologies that save organizations money by simply eliminating the need to
manage hardware and software onsite. Examine the costs of the areas above with
your IT staff or vendor and explore if there are ways that you can save money.
Part 2 of this post will address operational expenses related to IT. If you have questions about your IT capital expenses, give us a holler.
cybersecurity concerns continue to grow and grow, you will often hear that many
data breaches occur because of employees clicking on suspicious emails. It’s
obviously frustrating that an organization can implement the strongest
firewalls, antivirus software, and antispam software and yet still get a
crippling virus from a simple email.
smart to make sure you have as many preventative methods in place that block or
warn people about suspicious threats before they even happen, even the best of
us can still click on suspicious emails. Here are a few tips that will help
employees keep from clicking.
become good at creating sender names that at first glance seem legitimate, such
as “GoogleNotify” in the example below. But take a look at the sender’s email
address. It’s clearly not from a Google email account. Sophisticated hackers
may use a name that looks more legitimate, but email addresses are often an area
where most hackers fall short—making it easier to know it’s a fraud.
Suspicious email attachments usually ask you to do something that
you’ve never done before. If you feel immediate suspicion or you immediately
wonder why an organization would send you this email, then that feeling is a
red flag. For example, if the email says your bank suspended your account and
you need to download a zip file attachment to restore it, ask yourself if that
sounds right. If you’re in doubt, go to the organization’s website or call the
organization to ask if the email is legitimate.
If the email seems unusually desperate to get you to
click on a link or an attachment, that’s a red flag. Especially be careful
about attachments. Any legitimate organization does not typically conduct business
through having customers download zip files as a part of a transaction. And while
many legitimate emails provide links, you need to assess your trust and past
interactions with the organization sending the email. If it’s an email
newsletter from a trusted organization with clear identifying information,
you’re probably fine. But if the sender is asking you to do something odd such
as accessing your email messages through a link (when you normally just go to
your email account), then be extremely wary.
If it is a vague
communication, such as “Undeliverable messages. Get more information” be wary. Any
professional organization would provide more information and context about a
particular issue. A professional email provides a full description of what the
organization asks of you and will provide contact information to not only
handle any of your questions but also in case you want to verify that the email
is not a scam if you have doubts.
is where the rubber meets the road for data breaches. Once you give out
sensitive information like a password or social security number, your
organization may be exploited. This is an area where your employees absolutely
must err on the side of caution. No matter who asks for sensitive information, always confirm
that request with someone in authority. When in doubt, confirm.
If a theme emerges
with these questions, it’s that employees need a certain “street smart”
mentality applied to email. And sometimes emails skirt the line. Recently,
Facebook sent one of our employees a legitimate message that looked like a
phishing attempt. That employee instead went to Facebook directly to handle the
problem instead of clicking through any link in the email—just to be sure. In
another instance, a similar looking email supposedly from Apple turned out to
be a phishing attempt. Erring on the side of caution should be your employees’
rule of thumb, and it’s something to constantly communicate to them to help
avoid viruses and data breaches.
Concerned about data breaches through email? Contact us to talk in more detail about this problem.
document management systems seem logical for much larger cities, they often at
first seem like overkill for smaller cities. We even admit there is a
tangibility and reassurance about paper that electronic files still don’t give
us. You can touch them, hold them, and know those paper documents are there.
paper documents involve many risks that are dangerous if you rely on them.
That’s true even if you make copies of those paper documents. While you may
always need some paper documents in certain cases, here are five reasons why
you need to switch over to a document management system that digitizes as many
of your files as possible.
paper’s reassuring qualities, you can see that paper makes less and less sense
from a business perspective each year. Time saved, freed up space, and the
reduced costs of paper and ink save you money. Furthermore, your liability goes
down. If your paper documents are destroyed, the financial repercussions are
much higher than if you use a backed up electronic document management system.
Interested in discussing the benefits of document management versus paper in more detail? Reach out to us with your questions.
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