Minneapolis has signed another five-year contract with IT provider Unisys — a move that saves the city $2.2 million, said Beth Cousins, the city’s interim CIO.

Since Unisys began handling the city’s IT infrastructure management in 2003, Minneapolis has eliminated about 400 network and application devices, which has decreased operational costs and increased efficiency, Cousins said. Unisys services the mayor’s office, City Council, and Fire, Police and Public Works departments.

“We have a technology partner who allows the city to operate with processes and technology that we would not be able to afford or support on our own,” Cousins said.

As part of the new contract, which is valued at $33 million, Unisys will expand services to include cloud-based e-mail management, archiving and retrieval of 4,200 Microsoft Exchange/Outlook e-mail mailboxes; e-discovery; and potentially Instant Messenger and Live Meeting.

The cloud-based e-mail services will be based on Unisys Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), which is a software-as-a-service offering within the Unisys Secure Cloud Solution, a managed public cloud service hosted in the Unisys data center in Eagan, Minn.

Three new security devices will be installed: an upgrade that will move from an intrusion-detection software to intrusion-protection software, which blocks vulnerabilities from occurring; a vulnerability “life-cycle service” to check validation and remediation to ensure service and network devices aren’t open for attacks; and security analytics to correlate any attacks and vulnerabilities from the many ingress points.

“It’s really just about being proactive about closing our security gaps and protecting our perimeter,” said Cousins.

Minneapolis has 38 service-level agreements with Unisys, and has a 24/7 desk service that operates from Utah. Through the contract renewal, three Minneapolis IT employees have been laid off.

Unisys owns the city’s technology assets and data, and if the city were to back out of the contract, it would be a costly move to regain that information, Cousins said. So far, their partnership has been successful.

“We have a strong relationship with Unisys,” said Cousins. “We are certainly not a large customer to them, but one of the things that makes us important to them is that we do so many things.”

Lauren Katims Nadeau  |  Contributing Writer