Pittsburgh’s partnership with Google Cloud is in the early stages of changing how the city’s 19 departments store, analyze and protect data while boosting the services staff can offer to residents.
The city of Pittsburgh recently announced a partnership with Google Cloud that may serve as a blueprint for other cities looking to modernize legacy IT infrastructure.
Google Cloud has worked to develop its own cloud service specifically designed to serve governments in their push toward cloud-based storage. In the case of Pittsburgh, the city has been working aggressively to modernize its IT holdings for several years — a move accelerated by the pandemic. The partnership with Google has helped to quickly advance these efforts.
“The city of Pittsburgh looks forward to this partnership with Google Cloud as a first-of-its-kind relationship and having the capability to quickly expand the work and service delivery of city operations to meet our communities’ needs,” explained Heidi Norman, Pittsburgh’s acting director of the Department of Innovation and Performance.
According to Norman, the partnership serves as a pilot partnership for Google Cloud’s added value for municipalities, including migration, storage, applications, computing and professional services.
Another key feature of the collaboration is the training offered. City staff will receive training and certification to be sure the service is being used efficiently and that the city is receiving maximum value. Officials say Google has worked with the city to address its IT infrastructure constraints.
“They’ve really helped design an innovative solution that few other cities so far have had the opportunity to accomplish,” Norman added.
The migration process is not a simple one, Norman explained, saying that the city is still in the initial phases. The process includes several stages, starting with migration of IT tools and applications to monitor and manage the infrastructure. The next phase will move compute and storage capacity into the cloud, followed by migrating applications. When those steps are complete, the Department of Innovation and Performance will work with its departments to further improve service delivery, both internally and externally.
Security throughout the entire process is also a key focus for the city, Norman said.
“The city of Pittsburgh has a multi-faceted cybersecurity program to respond continuously and proactively to reduce risks and deter threats to our enterprise,” explained Norman. “Google Cloud is now part of our overall cybersecurity program.”
Specifically, the company follows strict protocols and implements measures to ensure security for users with tactics like data encryption and enhanced monitoring.
As far as enabling the city to make data-driven decisions, the move is introducing new analytics opportunities.
Different departments in the city are now able to use query tools to analyze data, build dashboards, report data and make better decisions for constituents. Ultimately, the 19 city departments will be able to leverage this technology to improve various areas of governing, starting with transportation and public safety.
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