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Massive Michigan IT Makeover

May 19, 2009

Summary

Michigan consolidated 19 IT departments and standardized network security for the entire state with the help of Symantec products.
The State of Michigan has over 55,000 employees spread across 1,400 remote office locations. Supporting the massive IT infrastructure that keeps those state offices running smoothly are 1,700 dedicated IT professionals. In 2001 Governor John Engler issued an executive order creating the Michigan Department of Information Technology (MDIT), an agency for serving Michigan’s complex technology needs.

While state governments across the U.S. are now reporting record deficits and cost-cutting measures, the State of Michigan hit economic difficulties years earlier. As the auto industry began to decline, so too did state revenues. Budget and service cuts could only go so far before drastically reducing the quality of life for Michigan residents. In response, the governor proposed bold initiatives to use information technology and the MDIT to cut costs and boost productivity across all government agencies.

One state, one network, one security framework

The MDIT formulated two key initiatives: Michigan One and Secure Michigan. Beginning in 2003, these two programs sought to consolidate the computing infrastructure of 19 separate state agencies and to standardize network security for the entire state government network. Unfortunately, the initiatives got off to an unsteady start. “[Due to early retirement incentives] we lost 320 of our employees—almost 20 percent of our workforce—and were not able to replace them,” says Ken Theis, director and CIO of the MDIT. More than ever, consolidation and centralized management were needed to streamline and improve government network resources.

Standardization, consolidation and productivity

The MDIT team used an RFP process and best-of-breed research to identify the most effective tools for their massive IT consolidation. In particular they needed to find products that could be applied across a variety of departments and IT infrastructures. This discovery process led the MDIT team to select a number of Symantec products for their state-wide network consolidation and security upgrades.

The first Symantec product deployed in the initiative was Symantec AntiVirus Enterprise Edition; the MDIT team methodically rolled out protection to all state government desktops from 2002 through 2005. One of the chief benefits of Symantec AntiVirus protection was the elimination of 6.25 million email-borne viruses per month in 2007 alone.

Once virus protection was completed, the MDIT team focused on overall network security. Dan Lohrmann, then the director of the office of enterprise security for the state, called on Symantec Consulting Services to help his team conduct a security assessment and infrastructure security upgrade. As a result, the MDIT team implemented Symantec Enterprise Security Manager to monitor and report on compliance and Symantec Critical System Protection to protect critical servers. In addition, the MDIT team deployed Symantec Security Information Manager to correlate log data from across all departments, centralizing the alert and report functions statewide.

In 2004 the state consolidated all its data resources into three centers. Along with this consolidation the MDIT team worked with Symantec Consulting Services to improve its backup processes. By 2007 the state had a next-generation backup and recovery solution in place using Veritas NetBackup. “We back up over two petabytes of storage during 21,000 backup jobs being executed each week,” explains Theis. “Our backup success rate is 98 per cent, and those few that fail are quickly recovered.”

The Michigan DIT team also improved its management capabilities by deploying Symantec Ghost Solution Suite. This solution has allowed a relatively small group of IT personnel to image and re-image desktops throughout the state, and it has helped significantly with a plan to update over 29,000 desktops by the end of 2009.

State benefits

The Alchemy Solutions Group, working with the MDIT, performed a detailed business value analysis of the use of Symantec products throughout the Secure Michigan and Michigan One consolidation initiatives. The analysis concluded that over a six-year period, the State of Michigan will see over $14 million in labor and productivity savings. Among some of the business benefits are:
  • Michigan will realize $800,000 in total labor savings in data backup from 2008 through 2009.
  • Data storage disk savings through better storage management will save the state $670,000 from 2008 through 2009.
  • Michigan will realize over $11 million in productivity gains in lifecycle management of desktop PCs from 2003 through 2009.
  • A reduction in the use of business critical services in response to severe support issues will save the state over $220,000 from 2007 through 2009.
  • Security monitoring and remediation labor cost savings will total over $1.8 million from 2004 through 2009.
  • Quarterly compliance audit reporting and verification savings will amount to $367,000 from 2004 through 2009.
Click here to read the full Alchemy Solutions Group Business Value Analysis of the State of Michigan.

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