July 14, 2020

Jo Daviess County sees annual savings with iFiber

GALENA, IL – Jo Daviess County has realized significant annual cost-savings and efficiencies since joining the iFiber Network in 2013.

Joe Kratcha, Jo Daviess County IT/GIS Director.

“The County has saved about $24,000 annually in phone service costs by switching from POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service through an iFiber partner and utilizing iFiber as the transport service,” said Joe Kratcha, the county government’s IT/GIS Director.

Jo Daviess County, in northwest Illinois, originally joined iFiber for email, Internet, and high-speed connectivity between county facilities. It also uses the network for video/audio conferencing, online training, server consolidation, disaster recovery, and GIS online mapping. In 2018, VoIP services were added. VoIP is technology for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet.

“The high-speed, secure connectivity between our three county facilities—two in Galena and one in Hanover—eliminated the need for using three different ISPs and site-to-site VPN connectivity,” Kratcha said. “iFiber service is much faster and more reliable than using the multiple ISPs with slower service.”

Employees, officials, and other agencies—particularly law enforcement—connect remotely through individual Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to the County’s network. Being a part of iFiber allows for reliable service for remote connectivity that is especially critical today. Video/audio conferencing for public meetings and court proceedings via Zoom has become the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kratcha said the County also is able to operate more efficiently with an environment of a centralized storage area network (SAN) and virtual servers. Previously, it had multiple physical servers scattered across the three different facilities. The County was able to eliminate those physical servers when it moved to the new server environment support by iFiber’s gigabit transport.

“We are able to do daily replication of data between sites for disaster recovery via the iFiber transport service. Having a disaster recovery site is important in the event of a physical disaster or cyberattack at the County’s production site,” Kratcha explained.

Jo Daviess County hosts its own GIS mapping website and iFiber allows end users to have quicker response times when accessing the data-sets.

The County has 140 employees, 32 officials (County Board/Board of Health), and GIS website users benefiting from iFiber service. Its three locations include the Courthouse/Public Safety Building (Galena), Health Department (Galena), and Highway Department (Hanover).

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