Our Time in GovTech; Some Thoughts

Last week the Compulink Team attended the New York Government Technology Forum hosted by eRepublic. We were an exhibitor with our own booth. In this two-day event, we met many of the government agencies we are working closely with in IT Procurement in addition to our manufacturer partners.

With the government agencies, we were sharing some of our new updates, and discussing any procurement projects we are currently working on with them. We were also discussing our e-Procurement solution that can fast-track their procurement process (Click here to visit). We also discussed how the New York State Government is increasing the discretionary spending threshold on procurement with MWBE to $500,000.

Compulink’s Exhibitor Booth At NY GovTech.

When we were in conversation with our manufacturer partners, we were discussing new IT trends and products that can benefit the government sector. From cybersecurity; cloud enablement; network management; to new hardware products, the Compulink Team and our partners were able to brainstorm most effective ways to better enable government agencies to serve our public.

Overall NYC GovTech 2019 was an opportunity for collaboration for our team and the other organizations that were in attendance. The Compulink Team is always evolving and enthusiastic to find ways to improve the IT infrastructure of the government vertical.

Flagstaff Unified School District Closes Due To Cyber-Security Issue

On Thursday September 5th, all public schools in Flagstaff Unified School District (Arizona) were closed due to a cybersecurity issue.  The School District’s Facebook post stated: “Due to a cyber-security issue that has impacted the ability of FUSD schools to operate normally, there will be no school on Thursday, September 5th.  FACTS, Childcare centers, and FUSD preschools have also been canceled.”

In some of the comments in response to this post, parents are expressing concerns that their children’s data may have been breached due to this incident.

The Implications

While schools having sudden closings can seem like good news for the children, there are broader costs to be considered.  For example, the Flagstaff Unified School District has a total of 15 schools, each with their distinct population of students.  There are costs involved in sudden off-days, for example: the interruption in the learning curriculum, affecting the broader educational schedule. 

Additionally, a cybersecurity breach in school can have implications on the personal data of students and faculty, as mentioned before.  Depending on the children’s circumstances, many of their parents are working and therefore rely on the daycare and school facilities to occupy their children’s time.  So a sudden closing would require parents to quickly find immediate childcare options.

The Takeaway

No matter the size of a company or organization, no entity is safe from cybersecurity issues.  It has become common for organizations to have their data within their network (or the cloud).  While we have grown comfortable digitizing our data, it is crucial to consider cybersecurity options.  From the individual using their laptop for personal use to the large enterprise, digitization of data has its vulnerabilities to security breaches.

In the context of an educational institution like the Flagstaff Unified School District, there are solutions and preventive measures that can be taken.  For example, a school district has multiple locations, similar to businesses having multiple branches.  This would mean that centralizing the network into one secure solution would both reduce costs and add the convenience of managing the network.  In the Case Study: Reading School District case study of Make-A-Wish Foundation, the organization had multiple locations with their own distinct network and later consolidated their network into one solution: Cisco Meraki.

In a centralized cloud-based IT management solution like Cisco Meraki, IT professionals can monitor all the switches, routers, and end-user devices.  The solution is scalable so new locations can easily be onboarded while existing locations are future-proofed.  The Meraki MX Security Appliance would provide advanced threat protection, and prevent anything malicious from entering the network with the breadth of Cisco’s Security teams.  Additionally, Meraki has a dashboard that would inform the IT professional about the network, from bandwidth usage to problematic practices (risky downloads on a device etc.).

To conclude, it is crucial, even for school districts, to incorporate cybersecurity solutions into their budgetary planning/decisions. To learn more about Cisco Meraki and cyber-security best practices to protect your organization, click on the image below.  (Free Access Point Available!) (Also applicable to Higher education institutions!)

Compulink VP Educates Audience On Government Business Best Practices

Denise Arboleda, the Vice President of Sales in Compulink Technologies, gave a small presentation on August 29th 2019 about how to do business with the New York City Government. The audience was an audience of small latino-owned businesses in an event hosted by InQmatic in Jackson Heights, Queens. To make the information easily accessible, Denise translated her presentation to Spanish.

In the presentation Denise covered subjects such as how to navigate the city process of bidding, understanding your competition within your specific business commodity, remaining compliant with city rules, and the nuances of pricing. After 30 years of business with the New York City government, Compulink Technologies has an abundance of experience as a procurement resource for the New York City government.

Celebrating Compulink-Cisco Partnership!

The Compulink Technologies Team is celebrating its partnership with Cisco Systems! The Compulink-Cisco duo has successfully enabled NY SLED Agencies to empower and upgrade their network infrastructure! The Compulink Procurement Team has proven to be successful with Cisco sales because of a notable characteristic: the team commits to the client beyond the initial deal.

Both Compulink Technologies and Cisco Systems have a culture of commitment to client success. Both have collaborated to combine their efforts to maintain the Cisco IT Infrastructure of New York SLED Agencies. According to Nirav Sheth, Cisco Vice President of Partner Solutions, architectures and engineering: “Certainly partners who embrace that [committing to client after the deal] are growing faster and are far more profitable.”

This dynamic duo has a track record of large projects. For example, in the mid-2000s, Compulink engineered an entire solution for New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority that provided GPS capabilities on all buses. To customize this solution for the client, Compulink provided appropriate products from Cisco Systems and other manufacturer partners.

As these two businesses grow, so does the IT Infrastructure of the government sector. These two companies have advanced and refreshed the network infrastructure of multiple government agencies and continue to do so! Over the past year, Compulink Technologies has grown tremendously via Cisco sales and we would like to thank our representatives in Cisco for such tremendous support!

Cisco To Use AI/ML To Advance Network And Simplify Workflow

In Cisco Live 2019, CEO Chuck Robbins discussed the complexity of IT for most businesses. As technology advances, IT management has become more complex even while staff headcount remained the same. In this complicated IT environment, the staff needs to operate faster than ever while remaining short-staffed.

In response to this trend Cisco has been increasing adoption of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Cisco’s AI/ML analyes network data provides IT teams with the following:

  • Improved Visibility: When the IT environment changes via new IoT mechanisms, and BYOD, the IT team can monitor and manage it via a dashboard.
  • Insights: Cisco collects data from its customer database. Cisco then uses AI to establish intelligent analyses. This data can provide trends on where network infrastructures can commonly be improved so they can be quickly fixed and preventive measures can be taken.
  • Fast-Track Resolutions: Machine learning automates workflows to troubleshoot steps that would be used to resolve an issue. This enables engineers to detect issues and vulnerabilities and correct these issues quicker than ever.

These are exciting advancements made by Cisco to improve the networking experience of end-users. It will be interesting to observe further advancements made with Cisco AI/ML to boost network infrastructure.

NYC Comptroller Concerned About NonProfit Funding Process

Comptroller Scott Stringer expressed concern in a recent round-table with Community Board 5 about the lack of effective funding process for nonprofit organizations.

During the roundtable, which hosted local legislators, education advocates, community organizers etc, there was a length of discussion centered around nonprofit funding. The general concern was that while funding support was available for nonprofit organizations, it takes an extensive amount of time for the funds to reach the organizations themselves.

“Why is the city giving a good nonprofit money and then they don’t get the money two years? And then they have to take out loans against the money. It’s called the procurement process,” he said.

“I want a new more transparent procurement process. I want the mayor’s office of contracts to own up to the fact that they are too slow, too outdated and we are jeopardizing a lot of these nonprofit organizations,” Stringer said.

This content was based on this article.

Compulink Technologies is an MBE Certified Firm that has been bringing top-notch IT Service solutions to businesses and government agencies across the nation since 1986.

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