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CitySmart Blog

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Clint Nelms, Practice Manager: Network Infrastructure
We all know the importance of keeping a stable infrastructure - roads, bridges, utilities, and the equipment needed to maintain them all need to be in good working order to ensure a healthy city. However, there is another equally important yet often overlooked infrastructure: the network. As cities increasingly move from paper-based, labor intensive operations to automated electronic administration, having a stable and secure network infrastructure is crucial to keep operations running smoothly. 

Your network infrastructure is not unlike the physical infrastructure of roads and bridges that tie your city together, only it serves to move and protect data instead of transportation. Infrastructures in disrepair can negatively affect business and governance and lead to increased safety and security risks.   Network infrastructure includes items such as: 

  • Backup Strategy 
  • Security
  • Data Storage
  • Proactive Maintenance
  • Servers and Workstations
  • Internet Access and Usage Policies
  • Wireless

Pretend for a moment that your city is planning to use Microsoft Exchange to manage its communication needs. Now, ask yourself a few questions. Is our network reliable enough to ensure that city email will be up and available? Where is that data stored? Is it secure? Is the data being backed up? 

Starting an IT initiative without a good network infrastructure is like building an office complex in the middle of the woods with no road access, water or electricity. A good network should be proactively maintained, not the reactionary “as needed” task that it has been in the past. If you start with a stable network infrastructure, you can then implement IT projects on top of that foundation, giving your city a network that it can rely on and a road to future expansion.