The municipality’s IT network as an “all-rounder”
With just over 3,000 inhabitants, Bad Radkersburg in south-eastern Styria is a relatively small municipality. However, 400,000 guests and 600,000 overnight stays per year, as well as its function as a school location, pose significant challenges for the municipality’s IT.
Equipping municipalities with modern IT infrastructure is an essential key factor for a successful future. In Bad Radkersburg, in addition to the support of “classic” areas such as municipal workplaces, construction facilities, sewage treatment plants and schools, outsourced areas such as the waterworks, electricity works, sports and leisure facilities, as well as the springs operations incl. local heating and the park thermal baths are supported around the clock. The small team of the IT department is responsible for the functioning of the entire optimal and timely hardware and software.
Reliable partners for functioning daily IT business
The IT manager’s daily routine starts with a visit to the town hall, where the entire system is checked, updates are applied, and problems are solved. These range from typical cases such as suspicious e-mails to various user requests such as support with mailings or data transmissions to troubleshooting at workstations or programmes. Incidents are dealt with, and preventive measures are taken to minimise disruptions and systems are optimised.
Andreas Puntigam, IT manager of the municipality of Bad Radkersburg, knows that an operational 24/7 support can only be achieved with reliable partners: “Externally, we rely on one partner for the entire server landscape, for example, as well as for the firewall.” The municipality of Bad Radkersburg has been working with the leading Austrian provider IKARUS Security Software on the important issue of IT security since 2010.
“The difference to other providers, apart from the innovative solutions, is a great support: the focus is on solving problems, not on processing tickets,” says Andreas Puntigam. The philosophy is also essential in everyday work: “For us, IT and EDP are always partners of the users – only if both sides see it that way and live it, then it works!” In other words, there are no “stupid” questions in case of doubt, for example, about suspicious mails or unexpected updates – the motto is to look at things together, then both sides have a better and safer feeling.
Innovative solutions through modern IT infrastructure
The IT team is the central point of contact for problems and ensures quick and uncomplicated troubleshooting with first level support. Furthermore, new workstations are set up, new employees are equipped, or programmes are set up or adapted. A server centre is available for all supported businesses and institutions. Bad Radkersburg has its fibre optic cable network, which was laid in the course of the local heating infrastructure supply and connects the buildings of the municipality and its businesses. The Parktherme with around 150 employees is also connected and included. There, the IT systems for cash registers and access and the catering area and the Vita-med therapy centre, are managed, as is the WLAN concept for the baths and the campsite. Due to the local heating expansion and its water pipe network, Bad Radkersburg has an empty pipe system for broadband connection for FTTH supply. Expansion coordination and implementation support is also a task of the EDP team.
IT operation and IT security in municipalities, companies and schools
The challenges for a secure network are manifold, especially in the e-mail area. Since 2010, the municipality has been using the award-winning IKARUS mail.security solution (antivirus and anti-spam for all mail systems). This “pre-selects well and already keeps a lot from the end-user”, Andreas Puntigam sums up the current operation: “Ideally, e-mails are marked with ‘possible spam’ if they are suspected. Even if an attachment is recognised as a virus and filtered out, the corresponding information is in the e-mail – this is perceived very positively by the end-users as optimal support.”
Pupils have Internet-only access with HDGuard. Harmful interventions by users or programmes thus do not penetrate the hard disk. After each reboot, the PC is back the way it was installed and configured. The schools’ offices belong to IT’s full responsibility, the pupils are in their network and are looked after locally.
IT security despite information overload
Wherever there are central contact points, such as in the Parktherme, the tourism association or the municipality, it is the employees in the back office who are particularly challenged to think actively. Everything” lands in their inboxes, and it is not always easy to distinguish between “necessary – informative – rubbish – danger”: Even virus software cannot offer 100% security, so in case of doubt: “delete unread” or ask.
For example, a multi-stage procedure is used to ward off ransomware via the IKARUS proxy filter, the firewall with e-mail filtering, an Exchange server, and the endpoint client IKARUS anti.virus. Turning off client virus software is generally not available for employees! Company data is only on the server, not on the client. This means that a clean-up can be carried out with an appropriate backup system.
The cooperation of the IT department with the IT partners and the persons acting at the workplace or in control systems ensures the complex, versatile IT systems distributed over several buildings. The reliability and ease of use of the IKARUS software, including the excellent customer-oriented support from IKARUS, help meet today’s challenge and expectation: everything must function completely and be available at all times.