We put the IT in city®

CitySmart Blog

Thursday, March 22, 2018
Dave Mims, CEO
Dave Mims

If you’re a Georgia city, you may have heard that members of the Georgia Municipal Association’s (GMA) property and liability fund (GIRMA) are eligible to receive a grant from GMA’s Safety and Liability Management Grant Program to reimburse your city for up to 25 percent of the annual IT in a Box subscription fee.

Why has GMA taken such a step? Because a lack of proactive IT support has become a critical liability for cities—and municipal leagues are noticing.

Not long after GMA began offering this grant, two Georgia cities were hit hard with malware attacks (one of which likely happened when an employee clicked on a malicious email attachment). Systems went completely down, computers needed erasing and re-imaging to be usable again, and some data was permanently lost as the cities worked to eliminate the malware.

The result? Weeks and weeks of downtime. Lots of money lost. And a loss of trust with citizens impacted by a lack of services.

These events are not surprising. Cities are struggling with three consistent issues:

1. Cybersecurity

It’s not exaggeration to say that all cities are now targets for hackers. Ransomware, malware, and viruses lead to data breaches, data loss, and inoperable systems that are taking unprepared cities weeks or months to recover—with high financial and potential legal liability added on top of the disruption.

2. Data backup and disaster recovery

Too many cities still cannot say for sure that they can recover data after an incident.

3. Helpdesk

IT support with poor response times, poor troubleshooting, and poor problem resolution hurts cities that must rely more and more on technology to run their operations.

Last year, we wrote an article titled “The Tripod of IT: Proactivity, Training, and Disaster Recovery” as a way for cities to think about tackling their technology problems.

  • Proactivity involves the right policies, processes, technology, and tools.
  • Training involves aspects such as teaching employees how to spot email phishing attacks or avoid malicious website
  • Disaster recovery involves onsite and offsite data backup along with regular testing.

One city that has tackled many of these problems is Forrest City, Arkansas. We’ve highlighted them in a case study and as our Featured Article for this month (see below). Read more about Forrest City to see if your city could use a similar technology transformation.

In customer news, check out the Town of Trion, Georgia’s new website. Plus, we’d like to welcome Alpena, Arkansas; Bull Shoals, Arkansas; Eastman, Georgia; Fairburn, Georgia; and Dover, Arkansas to the Sophicity family.

As always, don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have something to share with our local government community.

Blessings,

Dave Mims


Forrest City, Arkansas No Longer Worried About Legislative Audit Compliance and Now Enjoys Responsive IT Support

Doubling in population since 1950, Forrest City, Arkansas has continued to see steady population and business growth in recent years. To support more businesses and residents, Forrest City’s staff at city hall needs reliable technology. However, some uncertainty and technology issues started to hinder the city from not only serving its citizens but also complying with the important Legislative Audit.

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

  • Forrest City passed Legislative Audit with the burden of the process managed for them.
  • Responsive IT support led to increased productivity and employee morale.
  • Data backup helped prevent the permanent loss of data.
  • Sophicity untangled several complex IT problems that addressed employee frustration and lack of productivity.
  • Modernized hardware for a low price.

“I recommend that cities consider using IT in a Box. They especially helped us with the Arkansas Legislative Audit. For a city with limited staff, it’s a headache for one person to sit down and get all those policies in place. Also, Sophicity is there if you need them for overall IT support. At first, we thought the service was a little costly. But after getting IT in a Box up and going, we all now realize we should have done this a long, long time ago.”

– Derene Cochran, City Clerk / Treasurer, City of Forrest City, Arkansas

Read the full case study.


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Recent Media

Is Your City Really Prepared for a Disaster?

Ransomware Cripples City for Weeks—and What We Can Learn

Securing Your City Employees Without Annoying Them


Events

We hope to see you at these upcoming events including:

2018 GCCMA Spring Conference 
Monday, March 26, 2018 – Wednesday, March 28, 2018 
Jekyll Island, Georgia 

GMA District Spring Listening Sessions 
March and April 2018 
Across Georgia 

KLC City Official Academy II 
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 – Friday, May 25, 2018 
Bowling Green, Kentucky 


A Taste of I.T.

Taste of IT

Recently, CIS (Citycounty Insurance Services) Oregon (located in Portland) took time out of its busy daily schedule to grill out with us for what we call a Taste of I.T. These are BBQ-heavy :) customer thank you events that we’ve been bringing to our customers. Literally each month, we bring the food and beverages and get to have lunch with your staff. Thanks to Executive Director Lynn McNamara and CIO Mark Snodgrass. We had an awesome time!


Other Solutions 

IT in a Box 
Who guarantees IT services based on your expectations? We do.

Frontline
Take action against technology issues at your city.

Data Continuity 
Peace of mind about your records and data.