The Importance of a Government Data Center for Municipalities

Many data centers, especially those operated by local, state and federal government, have a profound impact on the general population. Government data centers control a huge amount of critical data, information and services. Because of this importance, government agencies have a responsibility to ensure their data centers perform at the highest levels.

What is a Government Data Center?

Just as with other organizations, a government data center is a centralized location housing IT equipment and infrastructure systems, including servers, storage systems, databases, applications, network services, devices, along with facility systems such as cooling, power, physical security and more.

Highly accomplished IT professionals with specialized expertise perform a variety of functions within a government data center. These professionals include managers, engineers, developers, architects, administrators, analysts, technicians and others.

Government data centers are typically housed in closets, rooms, floors and sometimes stand-alone facilities. The data center operation is responsible for the entire IT infrastructure of the local government.

Functions Dependent on a Municipal Government Data Center

Whether large or small municipality, local governments manage a significant number of functions in their data center. Some examples of data, information and services dependent on a government data center include:

  • The details of the particular municipality
  • Information on all departments within the municipality, such as parks and recreation, government relations, finance, human resources, public works, economic development, emergency management, library, transportation, housing, city clerk, and city manager.
  • Bill paying capabilities for residents for city services, such as garbage collection and water
  • Information on local police and fire department services
  • Local news and events
  • Information on how to do business in the municipality
  • Employment information with the local government
  • Information and access to city officials, including the mayor and city council representatives
  • Information and services regarding municipal court and cases
  • Processing permits for operating a business or completing residential building projects
  • Information for visitors regarding the local area

Risks Associated with Government Data Centers

Given the significant role a data center plays in government operations, a municipality must continually analyze vulnerabilities and potential threats. All risks that could affect strategic operations, internal processes, financial performance, compliance and public confidence need to be identified and mitigated.

To ensure the lowest possible risk to continued operations with a government data center, municipalities need the right systems in place to provide continuous service levels, even during a disaster. These systems require strong physical security systems, compliant processes, environmental controls and energy reduction measures. In addition, the operation must easily and cost-efficiently scale to address future requirements. A low-risk government data center will also have access to the latest IT infrastructure technologies, IT talent and high-speed network services.

Assess Your Local Government’s Data Center Risk

If you’d like to better understand your municipal government’s level of data center risk, take FairPoint Communications’ “Risk Assessment Questionnaire for Municipalities.” By answering nine multiple-choice questions, you’ll gain helpful insight into your municipality’s risk exposure – high-, medium- or low-risk.

FairPoint Communications’ data centers provide organizations with network connectivity and rack space in physically secure, reliable locations. Municipalities can use this space as primary or secondary data center sites. In addition, data center colocation space can also be employed as an essential part of a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy. FairPoint’s data centers are strictly controlled environments with essential power, cooling, connectivity and physical security features.

For data center colocation services that address your municipal government’s requirements, call FairPoint Communications (1.866.984.4001) or visit www.FairPoint.com/businessclassdatacenter.

Vice President Karen Romano is Vice President, Government and Education at FairPoint Communications, a leading provider of advanced communications technology in northern New England and 14 other states across the U.S.