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Public Sector Innovations
recovery solution in place, particularly in this time in which we live,” said Bryan Nealy, Oregon’s service support manager and leader of the project in collaboration with Deloitte.
“If something were to go horribly wrong like a natural disaster or a hardware fail, this disaster system allows us to bring
up that production system in another Microsoft data center government cloud
in another state,” he said. That is no
small feat when it involves backing up a complex system of 160 servers without compromising capacity and performance.
Through the DRaaS system, data can be accessed outside Oregon within 24 hours of a network failure and with no more
than one hour of data lost. Oregonians who rely on the state for food assistance, health care and/or child care can rest easy knowing that their eligibility for those services will not be in question if the system goes down.
Although the DRaaS solution only recently launched, Nealy is already thinking about next steps. The team’s focus will shift to linking DRaaS with other important programs, such as systems that deliver money and services to Oregonians.
“Eligibility is one thing, but the actual issuance of the benefits is another step,” he said. “There is still work to do to connect all these environments.”
For now, the disaster recovery system is allowing Oregon to overcome some major obstacles, including the biggest one: having a recovery system at all.
In addition, the Department of Human Services saved about 50% by using
the DRaaS system instead of building a solution in-house, and it was designed and
delivered in less than six months. When asked why Oregon made
developing a disaster recovery system such a high priority, Nealy said it is a federal requirement to have a plan in
place, and officials decided to do it right. He added that this is not the time to leave things to chance, saying: “It’s 2020. It’s a disaster recovery system. Is there anything else we need to know?”
Connect2LACity Work from Home Platform
City of Los Angeles
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Los Angeles officials knew they had to move quickly to make sure the city’s 24,000 employees could safely work from home and that residents could access the services they needed. Unfortunately, the city’s legacy system had the bandwidth to support only 200 employees working remotely at any given time, said Ted Ross, Los Angeles’ CIO and general manager of the Information Technology Agency.
He quickly assembled a “tiger team” with expertise in apps, infrastructure
and security to come up with a plan. The solution: Connect2LACity, a system that gives employees remote access to the city’s internal apps and websites from any device, including personal computers,
smartphones and tablets. “They could even...securely access the workspace they were used to in the office — same desktop, shortcuts, etc.,” Ross said. That extra step was intended to “minimize the learning curve of a new environment.”
Rapidly enabling city employees to work remotely was critical for issuing public safety messages and conducting COVID-19 contact tracing. It also allowed the city to make sure residents received rental assistance, coronavirus testing and information about other support services.
Not surprisingly, security was one
of the biggest priorities in developing the remote access system. The team based Connect2LACity on the zero trust model for authorizing ongoing access to resources, and encrypted connections keep systems and data secure while employees work remotely.
Officials moved quickly to develop and deploy Connect2LACity, Ross said. The tiger team tested the new system only 11 days after its first meeting. A few weeks later, 18,000 employees had access, and there were very few hiccups along the way. “While the help desk did receive
a significant increase in tickets...most requests were for user training and not problem reports or platform issues,” he said.
Although the public health pressures to avoid crowded offices will eventually fade, Ross said the Connect2LACity system has completely shifted the city government’s culture and attitude toward working from home.
“Thinking long-term, the City of LA predicts the new environment and associated workplace flexibility will
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