LA CIO Ted Ross

Techwire’s sister publication Government Technology magazine asked technology leaders at state and local governments across the country what they’re using to enable public servants to work without coming into the office. Two of the nine respondents were from California; their answers were lightly edited and appear below. The full story appears here.

Los Angeles Chief Information Officer Ted Ross:
“The city of Los Angeles uses Google Suite, so we have from-home access to email, calendar, Google Meet, chat … There are a lot of things that you can do simply through what we call mail.lacity.org, so we have a lot of those office collaboration tools, and office productivity tools, available to users.

“But in addition to that, there’s a lot more that people often need, so while some users are sufficient with simply having access to the Google Drive and email, there’s a large number of users who still require additional capability, and for them, we set up a robust remote desktop protocol platform over the last couple of weeks. We call it ‘Connect to LA City,’ and in that, it gives them capability to get to the types of apps that were traditionally only accessible over the network, as well as a full remote desktop protocol. So instead of us trying to juggle the challenge of getting them access to shared drives, and an environment they’re used to working in at their work desktop, we went ahead and allowed them to come securely and remotely into it. It’s a big, established platform that we’re able to handle 20,000-plus users. We’re not there at 20,000 users yet, but it does give us the capability to be able to process that.”

Oakland Chief Information Andrew Peterson:
My organization has been asked to provide telecommute capabilities for the entire city of Oakland workforce — i.e., those functions that can be done remotely.

We have had capabilities prior to COVID-19, however, they were scarcely utilized. The coronavirus has significantly increased demand for telecommuting and as a result has required us to greatly increase our capacity and methods of telecommuting.

Oakland uses the following solutions to enable remote/telework:

  • VPN
  • Virtual desktop — AWS-based
  • Office 365
  • Microsoft Teams — collaboration space (files, chat, etc.), video and audio conferencing
  • Zoom webinars
  • Increased number of laptops 
  • RDP — remote desktop

Andrew Westrope contributed to this story.