Next-gen Technology Enhances Security and Efficiency
Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County
ELCAC, along with 29 other coalitions, was created by the Florida legislature to ensure all children are at a “level playing field” when it comes to school readiness. ELCAC provides sponsored childcare and school readiness programs for low-income families of preschoolers currently numbering at 2,100 children. ELCAC also implements funding for the Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) program which offers free preschool for all four-year-old children in Florida. Every coalition is locally controlled and works differently based upon their needs which works well because of the diversity in the state of Florida.
Early Learning Coalitions operate under the Sunshine Law which ensures transparency of government funding. While this law ensures transparency, it also puts a burden on agencies like the Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County (ELCAC) to maintain and store lots of data. ELCAC is required to retrieve the data ensuring the personal information of clients is protected. Because of the strict governing guidelines, it is important to have the capability to access data quickly.
“From a top-level perspective, it’s a priority that information is protected,
but being able to work through a system that is fast and not bogged down is also important.”
Jacki Hodges, CEO
ELCAC had been storing their agency’s data on their own servers for some time, but had so much information that they decided to start moving it to the cloud to store more. The staff had a good data backup system in place when they started routinely backing up their data to the cloud. CEO Jacki Hodges took over the Coalition in January 2017 and began updating antiquated systems. After contracting with Valeo Networks it was discovered that their system wasn’t working properly. Valeo Networks performed a network assessment and diagnosed the problem. According to Ms. Hodges, “I’m not tech savvy, so I want to feel confident that our system works properly. I told the Valeo Networks staff what our needs were, and they were able to fulfill the task.”
When the Valeo Networks staff performed a network assessment of ELCAC, they discovered the problem was something as simple as antiquated wiring. Upon upload, the data was not able to flow because of an obsolete CAT-3 line that could not feasibly transmit to the cloud. Ms. Hodges said, “I was pleased they were able to diagnose the problem and give our system the needed protection required for our sensitive data.”
Subsequently, Valeo Networks helped ELCAC to upgrade their cable to CAT-5 and add on an upgraded Network Attached Storage (NAS). Now they have the capability to back up nearly 4 Terabytes of data and can quickly deliver records from their local physical server or the cloud. ELCAC also decided to upgrade to a next-gen cyber defense given the threats that Saalex advised them of after their network assessment.
Jacki Hodges, who has been overseeing the operations of ELCAC for 2 years, has been gradually making information technology upgrades to augment their existing physical server. When budgeting, decisions are made on correcting what needs to be fixed first. Valeo Networks is currently working with ELCAC to budget for and implement solutions that will provide security, flexibility and compliance for ELCAC’s data.
The new CAT-5 cable has enabled better backup speeds and quicker access to records than ever before. The next-gen cyber defense includes all of the traditional network security services, but also provides better visibility to take action against threats on a secure access portal. According to Ms. Hodges, “From a top-level perspective, it’s a priority that information is protected, but being able to work through a system that is fast and not bogged down is also important.”
Now, Ms. Hodges and the ELCAC staff can rest assured that their organization’s data is not only being backed up properly but is also safe and secure.
“I was pleased they were able to diagnose the problem
and give our system the needed protection required for our sensitive data.”
Jacki Hodges, CEO
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