IT150 @ Carlow

Make a Difference in People’s Lives

City of Pittsburgh Information Systems Department

with 2 comments

On November 15, 2010, IT150 students had the wonderful opportunity to tour the City of Pittsburgh Information Systems Department with city CIO Dr. Howard Stern.

During the tour Dr. Stern passionately discussed the mission of his department, the various functional areas, and the emerging technologies that the city has adopted to make public safety processes more efficient and effective. Such emerging technologies include – server virtualization, virtualized desktops, potentially cloud computing. We also learned about the city’s impressive disaster recovery capabilities.

It was a wonderful tour! I hope you enjoyed it :)

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Written by Rachel Chung

November 17, 2010 at 6:55 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Questions Answered by Dr. Stern:
    1. How long has the department been in place?
    a. For over thirty years.
    2. What is the biggest computer challenge you have faced?
    a. When the computers had a virus and were down for around 30 days.
    2. The three most important concepts I have learned during the tour are that security, policy and protection of devices are crucial to CIS. Security for both the hardware and software of the computer systems is very important because there are always people out to start viruses and steal information and that cannot happen with all the important information in the city’s system. Policy is a never-ending challenge for CIS, and the facebook example was a really good explanation of the struggles in finding a policy that will meet the needs of the department and its employees. All the protective measures CIS takes to keep all their devices safe from any form of damage is a very important concept. Even though they have backups readily available, there is so much money put into all the hardware they have and protecting that hardware is very important.
    3. Answered above under the heading Questions Answered by Dr. Stern.
    4. Even though I have recently switched to Professional Writing as a major, I can still appreciate all CIS does for the city’s information systems. Most writing I do is done on a computer, sent through a computer, ect.. All the measure taken to create a safe environment for the software, hardware and employee’s really make me appreciate everything that goes into protecting information systems more.

    Katie Bertha

    November 18, 2010 at 12:29 am

  2. On the tour I learned how vital IT is in an organization, how important security is in an IT setting, and how quickly IT can change. IT is vital to an organization because in today’s workplace it is how most information is recorded and stored. IT allows workers to be accessible to information instantly, when authorized, and it also allows for massive amounts of information to be shared and stored in a small area. These are both important to organizations because the sharing and storage of knowledge are what keep businesses going. Security is very important in an IT setting, especially one like the City Information Systems department of Pittsburgh, because it would be bad if people got a hold of classified information. That’s why only certain people could access the different areas of the IT department. Finally, I learned how quickly IT can change through this tour. While we were in the room with all of the hard drives we were shown how much space the computers used to take up, and how little they take up now, in just a few short years. I found that very interesting, it shows how quickly the IT business changes.

    One of the questions I wondered before entering the tour was about the security. I was curious about how secure the IT section was. It was very secure, with multiple swipe points, the raised floor, and its own A/C system. And I think there was something about fireproof stuff in there.

    Another question I had was how does the IT department work with other departments? I learned they are vital for the other departments to function. For example, police officers use the tools IT provides them to instantly get a person’s background and information about other incidents in the area when they pull someone over. This allows the police department to function seamlessly.

    My intended major is communication, and while I’m not sure if the jobs I want to go into are in the IT field, I know they will overlap because of this tour. The tour showed me that IT is everywhere, and it is a crucial part of organizations to function. I found the tour extremely interesting, but I don’t see myself working in the City Information Systems anytime soon.

    Rebekah Stern

    December 12, 2010 at 3:57 pm


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