Central Iowa – A cyber-attack can be a massively disruptive event for emergency agencies and municipalities. The frequency of these types of attacks are increasing and impacting dispatch centers more often. But use of the Rhodium Incident Management Suite allowed an Iowa regional dispatch center to effectively manage the crisis.
Rhodium was used by a consolidated emergency communications center in central Iowa during a CAD down. Since an investigation into this event is still active, the exact location is not being disclosed. The cloud-based incident management solution allowed dispatchers to remain connected and coordinate dispatch operations after a December 2019 ransomware cyber-attack impacted the entire IT infrastructure, including CAD.
This is a consolidated dispatch center for police, fire, and emergency services for five cities. When the cyber-attack hit all systems on the network, dispatch had to revert to manual mode or seek alternative solutions while the CAD was not available. Rhodium is primarily utilized for all levels of incident management. But its map-based incident and resource tracking were leveraged by the center to effectively manage dispatch operations for seven days while the CAD was examined and brought back online.
“Our dispatch center is prepared to operate in a CAD down scenario but there are still challenges” said Ian, a Public Safety Applications Specialist with the communications center. “Rhodium’s robust framework provided basic CAD functions which improved our dispatchers’ ability to communicate with each other, and emergency services in the field.”
Rhodium incorporates local CAD data as part of its incident management functionality. However, more importantly, as a cloud-based application it is an independent system from the CAD and isolated from the local network. In the event a cyber-attack compromises a network, Rhodium can still be utilized as agencies only need an internet connection to access the solution.
“We believe a core advantage of Rhodium is how quickly it can be accessed and how quickly personnel can be trained on it,” said Jarret Winkelman, President of Incident Response Technologies, makers of Rhodium. “In this case, the center was not a current user, but within a few hours they were up and running on Rhodium.”
The emergency communications training coordinator required less than an hour of over-the-phone training with Incident Response Technologies prior to implementing Rhodium for live calls. The solution also logged where and when resources were dispatched and provided time-tracking capabilities. This allowed them to export these records to maintain a complete and detailed level of accountability while the CAD was unavailable.
“Our partners have consistently shared stories with us about how they’ve used Rhodium for large scale incident response, major event planning, and day-to-day incidents. To see it also be utilized as an effective resiliency tool in an ongoing cyber-attack and a CAD down situation is very exciting,” said Winkelman.
About Incident Response Technologies
Incident Response Technologies, Inc., has been providing cloud-based solutions for public safety organizations since 2005. IRT’s flagship product, the Rhodium Incident Management Suite, is currently in use throughout the United States and Canada by Police, Fire, EMS, Emergency Management, Campus Security, and other organizations. For more information on the Rhodium Incident Management Suite, visit IRT’s website at www.irtsoftware.com or call (866) 260-7333.
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