Digital Cities Survey - 2nd Place

Taking a second-place spot in its population category, the city of Wichita has set a focus on more strategic operations and innovative partnerships to deliver IT services. Faced with the limited resources of a local government, the city has leaned on public-private partnerships and grant funding opportunities to close the budget gaps.

Unsurprisingly, cybersecurity is a substantial focus for the city’s IT shop; strong security protocols, employee education and risk assessments make up Wichita’s defense backbone. In-person training – in collaboration with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency – has helped to engage city staff and will become a quarterly occurrence. The agency also completes regular penetration testing of the city’s critical infrastructure. To make 24/7/365 security an affordable option, Wichita has contracted with an as-a-service cybersecurity vendor. This approach has not only saved money but has also prevented significant threats. The IT department is also engaging in tabletop exercises with the fire department to prepare for any disruptions that might occur because of a ransomware attack.

Technology is doing more than just protecting critical city systems — it’s also at play serving the community. The city’s housing and police departments are using tablets to enter real-time information about homeless individuals into the Homeless Management Information System to better connect them with valuable resources. This work earned the police department national recognition. New 5G-capable tablets have also been added to fire apparatus to provide connectivity and better intel on emergency scenes. At City Hall, streamlined access to services has also been made a priority. Digital kiosks are now available to residents for services like paying bills, unemployment benefits, child support, Social Security, legal aid services and more.