Cities turn to remote access tools to support government activities

Crispino says that for small departments like his, the initial investment put into upgrading infrastructure can seem expensive or seem like a lot of effort.

“But in the grand scheme of things, you’ll save a lot of time for yourself,” he says. “Especially during the pandemic situation, we could have spent all of our time for two weeks deploying 100 laptops. Virtual office infrastructure has really saved time and effort in getting everyone ready.

While virtual office infrastructure allows employees to work remotely today, it also helps the city prepare for any future emergencies. “I think back to this emergency tornado operations center that we wanted to get up and running quickly. We are now better prepared to do all of this, ”says Crispino. “If they came to me now and asked me to install 10 computers by the end of the day, I would say OK, no problem. I could quickly run 10 computers and deploy them.

RELATED: How did agencies act quickly to support teleworking amid the pandemic?

San Antonio strengthens business continuity

Before the pandemic, the city ​​of Saint-Antoine had started offering employees remote access, but it could only handle about 50 active connections at a time. John Rodriguez, deputy IT director for infrastructure and operations, says partnerships with Cisco and VMware were instrumental in ramping up when the pandemic struck in 2020.

“We built our VPN environment from one site that can only handle around 100 VPN users to one that can handle 10,000,” says Rodriguez. “Each year, we have a budget of around $ 5 million to replace existing equipment. Last year, as we prepared to spend this budget, Cisco gave us a fantastic offer: 32 additional high-end countries chassis servers with a terabyte of memory. In about five weeks, we also expanded to a new VMware Workspace environment. “

The city’s IT department has set up a separate team of 10 people dedicated to working from home issues. This team, made up of VPN experts, VMware UN workspace, messaging and business applications, has made a huge difference in solving problems and improving training materials.

“The learning curve for a lot of people working from home wasn’t that big,” says Rodriguez. “However, for people who needed help, we were able to provide it fairly quickly and get it to work.”

Rodriguez says the city has now strengthened business continuity.

“As our CTO says, ‘Never let a good calamity go to waste.’ We are in a much better position for remote work. When we suffered a recent ice storm, the people who recovered power could work from home and did not have to drive. The pandemic has helped us. We now think of remote work in a very meaningful way, ”he says.

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