Discover How RYMARK’s Proactive Approach Provided Peace Of Mind for CRWD
CAPITOL REGION WATERSHED DISTRICT TURNS TO RYMARK FOR SOUND ADVICE, STRONG DATA PROTECTION, AND IMPROVED MANAGEMENT AND SUPPORT.
Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD) manages, protects, and improves the water resources of St. Paul, MN and surrounding areas to the northwest. The district encompasses Como Lake, Crosby and Little Crosby Lakes, Loeb Lake, and Lake McCarrons, all of which flow into the Mississippi River.
Beginning in 1998 with a small group of dedicated citizens who sought protection for Como Lake, CRWD has developed management plans and completed a number of repair and improvement projects. It is also responsible for rules and permitting, education and outreach programs, and providing technical assistance and funding through grant programs.
CRWD’s 20+ person staff is focused on the agency’s mission. No one on staff specializes in IT issues. CRWD prefers to outsource its IT needs rather than hire and retain technical staff.
Partnering with the right provider is critical. CRWD wanted a local provider with the expertise to offer sound advice and deliver high-quality services and support. The agency found that provider in RYMARK.
“When we started shopping around for a technology firm, we found that RYMARK is located just a few miles from our office,” said Michelle Sylvander, officer Manager, Capitol Region Watershed District. “They submitted quite a bit of information when they responded to our request for proposal. And we felt right away in the interview that they were very eager to help, forecast our needs and give us advice on advancing technology. That was in 2014, and we’ve been with them ever since.”
CRWD has been working with RYMARK since 2014. Whenever another firm offers the agency a quote, the response is “no thanks — we’re good.”
Lessons Learned About Data Backup
CRWD’s previous technology provider left a lot to be desired. The most critical issue was how backups were handled — data was backed up offsite to a facility in New York, and there was no way to access it remotely.
The problem came to a head in late 2013. CRWD experienced a system crash and data was lost. The data was backed up but had to be downloaded to CDs and shipped from New York to St. Paul. A major snowstorm thwarted that process.
“Because of the snowstorm, it was hard to get deliveries in and out of the state. When we finally got the CDs, we found that the company had not saved everything in the correct format. It took us two weeks to get that data back and uploaded,” Sylvander said.
“We determined that the backup system our provider was using was intended for someone working out of their home or maybe a business with one or two employees. It wasn’t meant for an organization like ours. We also knew instantly at the time of the crash that our provider didn’t really understand our needs or have any idea how to look forward. We needed somebody who knew more than us to take care of us.”
CRWD immediately began looking for another provider and found RYMARK. The RYMARK team assessed CRWD’s environment and determined the agency had outdated equipment, a hodgepodge of network gear, and minimal security. There was no organizational continuity plan and the approach to IT issues was reactive rather than proactive.
A Better Approach to IT Management at CRWD
RYMARK implemented a managed services plan with remote monitoring, maintenance, and support of CRWD’s systems and network. The RYMARK team keeps the systems up to date to enhance security and provide peace of mind. A key component is a business continuity plan that includes offsite backup with rapid recovery of data should a disaster occur.
Thanks to RYMARK’s proactive management, CRWD has not needed to restore from backup. However, recent civil unrest in the Minneapolis area brought concern that the continuity plan would have to be activated.
“There were riots just two blocks from our St. Paul office,” Sylvander said. “Thank goodness there was no damage to our building and we only lost our Internet connection for a few hours. But RYMARK was ready to take action — even come down here and move our server to a different location if needed. There were plans in place on how to move forward so we wouldn’t miss a beat.”
RYMARK has also completed a number of upgrades for CRWD, including two server refresh projects. The RYMARK team migrated CRWD’s email from an on-premises Microsoft Exchange Server to Microsoft 365 and manages the agency’s Microsoft government licenses.
“They’ve even pointed out things like duplicated services. ‘You don’t really need that subscription because you have other tools with the same features,’” Sylvander said. “They save us money, too.”
A Long-Term Agency/IT Provider Relationship
CRWD has experienced tremendous growth since 2014, and built and moved into a state-of-the-art building. RYMARK provided the planning, budgeting, and management of the associated IT project and move. Since then, RYMARK has helped the agency keep its environment up-to-date, and ensures that users have the tools they need to remain productive.
“We sit down with them for a quarterly review and talk about the age of our equipment and whether we should replace it,” Sylvander said. “Knowing that everything’s on a long waiting list, RYMARK went ahead and ordered some equipment ahead of time. I feel very confident that they help us stay ahead of the game before things become a problem.”
Sylvander says that CRWD has no plans to change IT providers.
“I get a lot of calls from other companies saying, ‘Hey, you know, we’d like to give you a quote.’ And I say, nope, I don’t even want to go there. It’s not worth it,” she said.
“RYMARK knows our business inside and out. I feel like they know it better than we do. They know who’s using their computers, how often they’re logging in, how much storage they’re using. And they reach out to us when they foresee a problem or something we could be doing better. And that’s exactly what we need — somebody who looks out for us and keeps us current with the latest technology.”