The Louisa County Board of Supervisors held a special meeting Thursday to interview a Muscatine IT provider to see if his company could meet some of the county needs. The meeting followed the supervisors’ regular Tuesday meeting where several department heads call for improvements in the county’s IT service.
Jon Hartman, Reliable Network Solutions, assured supervisors Brad Quigley and Chris Ball and several other county officials that despite a five-member staff, it could provide the services the officials said were lacking under the current contract.
“It’s a pretty small shop,” Hartman said, adding he previously worked in the IT department of Stanley Consultants, Muscatine, before launching his own company and he felt his team could accomplish a lot for its smaller size.
“Our company takes a holistic look at the whole organization and how can we develop more standardization, organization and consistency in the IT system so we can eliminate problems before they start,” he said, pointing to changes many tech companies implement that impact users such as Louisa County.
“These big ideas these big tech giants tend to shove on people, such as the Windows 7 to Windows 10 transition,” Hartman said.
Ball and Quigley agreed that was one of the county’s most immediate issues, which was recently highlighted as part of an IT audit conducted for Louisa County.
“A lot of computers here are Windows 7 and not ready for Windows 10, and we have a bunch of servers that need updated,” Ball said, adding much of the work needed to be done before the end of the year.
“We have a lot of work to be done and a short time to do it,” he said.
“Most of our critical equipment is outdated,” he said, handing Hartman a copy of the recent audit.
Hartman said a key issue that jumped out of the audit was the lack of backups of critical county data.
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“That’s been an issue lately,” Ball agreed.
Quigley wondered if Hartman’s company would have the capacity to tackle the backup and other issues already facing the county.
“Would you have room for this operation?” he asked.
“Yeah, I think so, (but) I’d like to understand more of the scope,” Hartman replied, explaining he was unsure how many sites the county had, the computer count, email situation and other critical information.
Hartman asked about the problems the county faced.
Quigley cited problems with updating machines, backup issues, communication concerns and other difficulties.
“It’s just common things that we are seeing that seem like it’s a daily issue,” he added, pointing out the audit had showed the county’s equipment needed to be updated.
Quigley said the county had the available funding to accomplish that, but felt the current contractor had not made any progress in that area.
“We are having a problem getting the answers on where we need to be. We want a company to take us to what we need to spend,” he continued.
Hartman said he would develop a proposal identifying his services and costs and submit it to the county as soon as possible.