The unsteady economy is challenging all businesses to find more cost-effective and creative ways to operate—harkening back to old adage of doing more with less. But this is nothing new for Garfield County and the employees that support the more than 55,000 residents of this Colorado mountain region. From airport services to building and planning, and to emergency management, the Garfield County workforce manages a host of responsibilities with a lean staff and an even leaner budget.
Maintaining strong communications starts with email
“Providing the County with the most effective technology to meet the growing needs of the citizens is our team’s focus,” says Charles Zelenka, IT Director, Garfield County. “We seek out and implement the systems and solutions we feel will best serve the needs of our constituents, while also keeping a close eye on costs.” Zelenka has been with the County for nine years, and he and his team also have the challenge of supporting law enforcement and the district attorney. These two entities have distinctly unique communications needs.
“In the process of selecting our email security provider, we had to consider how important confidentiality is to the sheriff’s office and the DA,” says Zelenka. “We also had to consider the damage that could result when infections, viruses, and hacked machines cause security breeches. The solution we chose had to be bullet-proof.”
Better email management is mission-critical
With 500 County employees, it’s easy to envision how a two-person IT staff could quickly get buried in email-related management—from spam complaints to infected machines. “We had anti-virus software loaded locally and the solution worked early on until the threats got really sophisticated. We would physically go from machine to machine, person to person, cleaning up infected PCs. Not only was the County staff frustrated and suffering from productivity loss, but the County network was extremely vulnerable,” recalls Zelenka.
Simply put, for Zelenka, the ultimate goal was to find a way to manage email better. This meant finding a solution that would relieve his team from the burden of hours of email administration and clean-up. It meant finding a solution that removed unwanted email and malware before it even entered the network, thereby eliminating mail server overload and wasted bandwidth. And finally, it meant implementing a solution that would limit liability and minimize distraction for County staff in order to increase overall productivity. That’s where McAfee SaaS Email Protection (formerly MX Logic® Email Defense Service) came in.
McAfee SaaS layered solutions form the foundation of proactive protection
While reducing spam was one very obvious reason for implementing the McAfee SaaS Email Protection service, Zelenka recalls that it was not his main motivation for seeking a more comprehensive, layered solution.
“Of course spam was the most widely visible problem, but we were getting hit with malware that was slipping through and putting our staff in jeopardy. We were dealing with security issues, abuse, and data overload as well,” says Zelenka. “It was crazy. We were actually using our valuable server space to back up spam. From a cost perspective, this was just unacceptable. If we could control the amount of email flowing into our network, we could reduce the wasted bandwidth usage and wear and tear.”
"The cloud-based solution was the right direction. It was our answer to working with a small staff, having to always ration server space, and not having enough room for all the equipment. Plus, the level of security we have now is priceless."Charles Zelenka
IT Director, Garfield County
McAfee SaaS Email Protection was the County’s first experience in using a managed service for online security. With the county government operating on a very lean structure, Zelenka immediately noticed a reduction in time spent on email and network management.
“With the managed service, so much of the work we had been doing before integrating McAfee is now being done behind the scenes within McAfee Labs,” says Zelenka. “Because our small team no longer has to spend hours administering and managing an in-house system, we can focus on more forward-thinking projects.” Zelenka adds that it’s also important to note that with a hosted, on-site solution there are also hardware, space, and electricity components, which all come with a price.
“The cloud-based solution was the right direction,” he concludes. “It was our answer to working with a small staff, having to always ration server space, and not having enough room for all the equipment. Plus, the level of security we have now is priceless.”
A cleaner email network leads to total annual savings of $118,000
Email volume is on the rise in every business segment, including government organizations like Garfield County. According to Zelenka’s reporting through the McAfee Control Console, “SaaS Email Protection typically filters out about 750,000 emails each year—which is about 60 percent of the total email we receive annually. If we estimate that it takes 15 seconds to delete just one email, then we are saving 3,125 otherwise wasted working hours. The bottom line: Without the McAfee service, we would have wasted over $78,000 per year in labor hours just deleting spam from inboxes.”
Zelenka also explains that if this “bad” email was not blocked by the McAfee SaaS Email Protection service prior to entering the network, the huge volume would impact the amount of server maintenance and the amount of data to be backed up every night. “The extra cost for media and server support could be as high as $20,000,” he notes.
In addition to the liability associated with viruses and malware, they also carry huge costs. “McAfee SaaS Email Protection filters out about 10,000 viruses from our email system every year. If my staff had to spend two days a week cleaning up these virus outbreaks, it could cost upwards of $20,000 per year in labor,” says Zelenka.
Adding McAfee SaaS Email Archiving adds legal peace of mind
With an exceptional email defense solution now managing his network behind the scenes, Zelenka knew it was time to address the elephant in the room: What was the County’s responsibility when it came to saving emails?
“Emails were being saved, but in a way that made it very difficult to search and retrieve them when open records requests were issued,” he recalls. “Sometimes, it would take us over 40 hours to search for and retrieve emails for a particular case and then the attorney would have to manually search through those emails to find the ones that pertained to his or her case.”
According to Zelenka, after he demoed the McAfee SaaS Email Archiving (formerly MX Logic® Message Archiving) service for the attorneys, it was an open and shut case. He showed the appreciative team how the email archiving service could reduce the time it takes to satisfy open records request by days—and sometimes by weeks.
McAfee SaaS Email Archiving is fully integrated with McAfee SaaS Email Protection within the County, and it automatically and safely stores email for future review and eDiscovery. McAfee SaaS Email Archiving integrates powerful, rapid search functionality and complete email backup with continuous feature updates, and does not require additional hardware or software purchases.
“It was the least expensive way for us to pursue a comprehensive archiving solution. Before McAfee, we spent approximately $50,000 for various types of hardware, consulting fees and other start-up matters. A three-year contract with McAfee, for management of the searchable database and security services, came to $5,575. Additionally, the web-based solution was absolutely the right direction considering our lean staffing and limited physical space,” notes Zelenka.
"McAfee has allowed me and my staff to offload tedious email management and security in order to focus on more core technology needs. From the extremely accurate filtering to the effortless quarantine management, the system just works."Charles Zelenka
IT Director, Garfield County
It’s easy and seamless—and it just makes sense
With McAfee’s advanced email protection, the County’s staff spends less time sifting through spam to find legitimate messages—and more time helping constituents and creating a more efficient organization. With spam and threats virtually eliminated from the network, Zelenka has peace of mind knowing that the County’s most important communications platform is secure.
“McAfee has allowed me and my small staff to offload tedious email management and security in order to focus on more core technology needs. From the extremely accurate filtering to the effortless quarantine management, the system just works.” Zelenka adds that the webbased platform for monitoring and reporting is convenient, comprehensive, and easy to understand.
“It’s nice to have a system that is so rock solid and easy,” he concludes. “In my business, you have to know so many complex systems, so it’s nice to have something that just works and that is backed by a committed and experienced team. The whole experience has been terrific.”