Trust | Responsive | Good People
The City of Westlake Village is a small California municipality with a large A-list of celebrity residents. One of the wealthiest communities in Los Angeles County, Westlake Village has about 9,000 people and is located on the western edge of the county near Highway 101.
Westlake Village is structured as a “contract city.” Unlike municipalities that hire their own employees for most or all city functions, Westlake Village works with specialized professional vendors for the majority of its services, from animal control to traffic engineering and just about everything in between. That includes IT services, which the city council targeted as an area that could use some improvement.
“It began with a 2011 initiative to improve our communications technologies,” says Kerry Kallman, Senior Administrative Analyst and one of the city’s 10 full-time employees. “It was sparked by a goal to improve cell phone coverage within the city, but evolved into a discussion about a broader communications upgrade. We wanted to embrace the latest technologies for communications and use more up-to-date technology to serve our constituents.”
It wasn’t just cell-phone service that needed addressing. The city’s entire technology infrastructure was outdated, with employees using computers and monitors dating back to 2001 and a data backup system involving physical tape drives that were shuffled back and forth weekly. For email, the municipality was using Exchange 2003 running on a local server; if emails came in during an outage, up to 12 hours or more of email communications could be permanently lost.
The city decided to search for and IT expert that could guide them through a major upgrade—and be there for the long term as a trusted partner.
“What impressed us was not just the knowledge and expertise that Lanspeed brought to the table. They also explained the technology solutions in plain English. This really helped in bringing all parties, including the City Council, on board with their recommendations.”
Senior Administrative Analyst at City of Westlake Village
Solution The city was determined to select the right partner. Kallman says that the evaluation team, which included two members of the city council, ran prospective partners “through the ringer.”
“We had a lot of questions, and needed answers that satisfied us and were easy to understand,” Kallman says. He says the city’s previous IT services vendor, while competent, could not clearly communicate the results and benefits of the solutions it recommended.
“Then we interviewed Lanspeed,” says Kallman. “What impressed us was not just the knowledge and expertise that Lanspeed brought to the table. They also explained the technology solutions in plain English. This really helped in bringing all parties, including the City Council, on board with their recommendations.”
Lanspeed made several recommendations, including moving the older Exchange system to the cloud-based version of Exchange in Office 365, one of the most important changes for modernizing and securing the city’s communications.
Lanspeed made other recommendations that were executed by the city, including updating older PCs and monitors, moving from WordPerfect to Microsoft Word for word processing, and deploying a new data backup system from Datto.
The city also engaged with Lanspeed for ongoing managed services and as a strategic partner who will help in making important technology decisions in the future.
"They were right there when I needed them, even though I didn’t ask them to come over. That’s the kind of service that builds a strong, long-term relationship."
Senior Administrative Analyst at City of Westlake Village
The careful vetting process and ultimate selection of Lanspeed delivered key benefits to the city. Using the cloud-based version of Exchange delivers reliability and availability to email communications. The city’s data is now safely backed up. And by working with Lanspeed, the city’s small staff know that they can count on their IT partner to always be there when needed.
Email in the Cloud
The move to the Office 365 version of Exchange removed a major problem area from the city’s operations. “With the older version of Exchange, there were always worries about what we needed to do if the system went down and we lost emails or went without email capabilities for hours,” says Kallman. “With the cloud-based version of Exchange, our worries about email availability are gone. Our mail is always there in the cloud, and if there’s an issue with server hardware or Internet connectivity at the city office, all staff members can still access email on their phones or tablets. It ensures continuity of business operations.”
Secure Daily Data Backups
The city also followed Lanspeed’s recommendations for a new backup system, which helped secure a critical operational process. “When Lanspeed saw our old tape-backup system, they basically told us to get rid of it as quickly as possible,” says Kallman. “The difference is night and day. Our new Datto data backup solution takes a daily snapshot of all of our data and replicates that snapshot to a secure, off-site location. If our servers go down, we can replicate all of our data on a new hard drive within a few hours. It’s a huge relief, and one more thing we don’t have to think about anymore.”
Superior IT Service
Perhaps the biggest benefit of partnering with Lanspeed, says Kallman, is the confidence that city employees and council members now have in their information technology, which is modern, current, and constantly monitored by responsive, helpful experts. “In a recent example, we got a call from a software provider about an imminent upgrade,” Kallman says. “I wasn’t expecting this, but Lanspeed showed up at my office and joined me in a conference call to discuss the upgrade. They were right there when I needed them, even though I didn’t ask them to come over. That’s the kind of service that builds a strong, long-term relationship.”