“We deal in restful nights and warm, cuddly feelings,” Kevin Fullerton, president of ThinkGard, told the Van Buren Township Board of Trustees at its workshop meeting on April 19. The[…]

“We deal in restful nights and warm, cuddly feelings,” Kevin Fullerton, president of ThinkGard, told the Van Buren Township Board of Trustees at its workshop meeting on April 19.
The contract that was discussed at length at the workshop, was unanimously approved in the regular meeting. It will cost $31,800 per year for three years.
Fullerton, appearing by zoom, said his firm, founded in 2013, deals in data protection only. Based in Birmingham, Ala., it has clients in 20 states.
It is Cloud Based/On-Premise Disaster Recovery for the township.
He said his firm works with hardware, software, cloud, service backup and data recovery and tests every server every day, with storage in Pennsylvania and Utah, far away from VBT by design.
If data from an entire office is lost, the office can be run offsite through this program.
“We were afraid of the cost of the cloud,” said Supervisor Kevin McNamara, noting other communities have seen their cloud rates rise. He said Canton pays over $100,000 and the cost is high in Livonia.
He said currently the township stores its drives at the fire station.
Supervisor McNamara said there are imminent treats of ransomware in the next few years.
Trustee Reggie Miller asked if they had other Michigan clients and Nolan Griffin, who was present in person from the firm, said the only one is St. Joseph Township.
Trustee Miller asked about ransomware attacks on their clients and Griffin said there were six in 2021 and all their backups stayed in place.
Steve Rankin, director of the township’s IT department, said he spent the last three months researching the issue and found ThinkGard to be the high bidder of three but having the best operation.
“When I heard they go after backups, I feel vulnerable,” Director Rankin told the board. “I don’t want something to happen and then you ask me why I didn’t do something.”
Trustee Kevin Martin said he thought the contract was a great idea, but he wanted to know who owned the data.
Fullerton said when the contract is over, all information is deleted.
“It’s a pretty fool-proof operation,” said Trustee Martin. “I’m all for it.”
Treasurer Sharry Budd said, “I’m impressed.”
Rankin said there are six servers in the fire department and old files are overwritten and can’t be retrieved.
Fullerton said although his company was organized in 2013, he has been doing this kind of work for 20 years in the corporate community.
When asked how soon he could start, he said the hardware is here and ready to go and after he gets the information from Rankin, it will take two days to get it up.
Fullerton said VBT would get unlimited storage in their cloud. He said 90% of their base is in the public sector and the flat is so you can manage budgets. He said there is a very specific cloud for data recovery.
Rankin said this would be just for township servicers and public safety, but the video from the cars and other videos is a vast amount of data.
McNamara said there are 40 cops, 40 cameras, and 40 cars.
Treasurer Budd said they only save the videos for so long and then they are scrolled over.
Trustee Donald Boynton said, “It’s a big deal, being a security person myself.”
Trustee Miller thanked Rankin for being proactive instead of reactive.
“Sometime we’ll talk to a body and they can’t make it work,” said Griffin. “Then there’s ransomware and then they call us back.”
In other business at the April 19 meeting, the board:
• Reapproved the Township Investment Policy and Authorized Investment Institutions. Treasurer Budd said this only adds the names where the township is investing;
• Approved the price increase from $5 per column inch to $7 per column inch for publications in the Belleville Independent as of May 1;
• Viewed a video by Michael Japowicz of the VBT Police Department Accreditation. Present to comment were Sgt. Louis Keele, Lt. Charles Bazzy, and Sgt. Adam Byrd, who worked on the accreditation. Others who worked on the accreditation were not present: Police Chief Jason Wright was out of state on a family emergency, and former Public Safety Director Gregory Laurain, who has retired. The video will be shown on the township’s social media site and website. Trustee Boynton asked that it also be put on YouTube;
• Approved the selection of Graphic House, Inc. for the Gateway Signage project for $176,698;
• Approved selection of Graphic House, Inc. for the Park Signage Phase II project for $119,124;
• Approved the selection of Santoro Services, LLC for the Belleville Area Museum Landscape & Irrigation improvement project for $100,819.15. Elizabeth Renaud, Director of Community Services, said the work includes removal of trees, landscaping, putting in a secondary patio on Roys Street, irrigation for the landscaping, redoing walkways, and an archway sign that mirrors the Fourth Street Square sign across Main Street. Work is expected to begin in mid-May and be done by the end of June, she said. Mark Russell of Russell Design said currently the museum has a “lackluster” appearance. They will add a couple of benches, the patio on Roys Street so people can look at the Model A in the glass enclosure, relocate the flagpole to a more prominent position in the front, add perennial flowers and automatic irrigation. McNamara said they are removing the parking area and the dumpster. He quoted Renaud as saying, “It will be transformative”;
• Heard McNamara announce a visioning workshop on the Belleville Area Museum, 5-7 p.m. June 1, at the Belleville Area District Library. He quoted Belleville Mayor Kerreen Conley as saying the goal will be: “Envisioning our future, while preserving our history”;
• Heard Trustee Martin announce Community Day at the 34th District Court in Romulus from noon to 5 p.m. Friday, May 6;
• Heard McNamara say the sidewalks that need repair in Haggerty Subdivision so property owners will know what needs to be done in their yards. Also, he announced southbound Haggerty from Tyler to I-94 has been closed for the summer for road work. He said he has no word yet on the proposed roadwork on Haggerty between Ecorse and Van Born; and
• Heard Steve Darke say via zoom under public comment that there has been graffiti for six months at the corner of Haggerty and Ecorse. He was told they were waiting for the weather to change to attend to the problem.

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