The St. Andrew’s Parks and Playground Commission, a parks and recreation agency serving Charleston, South Carolina, has a health-focused mission: “We Enrich Lives Through Parks, Recreation and Wellness”. But the commission’s mission extends far beyond its physical presence. St. Andrew’s owns and operates eTrak Recreation Software, a suite of management software created for recreation professionals.
Helping Parks and Recreation Organizations Streamline Operations
St. Andrew’s takes pride in enabling parks and recreation organizations to streamline operations and enhance the participant experience. In its role as a software provider, eTrak has a second mission: to build mutually beneficial partnerships with every customer. It strives for continual improvement by consistently meeting the ever-evolving needs of the parks and recreation industry.
Since 1980, eTrak has been fulfilling its mission, providing the parks and recreation industry with solutions created by parks and recreation professionals, practitioners who know the industry and the unique needs and challenges of managing recreation programs. It’s designed to be user-friendly, efficient, and cost-effective.
All eTrak servers are hosted and updated on-site at the Charleston, SC headquarters, with a hot redundant site located in the Midwest that provides for continuity of operations. All development, maintenance, updates, and support have historically been performed by a team of in-house IT professionals.
Planning for Future Growth Calls for Cloud-Based System Architecture and Improved Security
While the eTrak software has a strong track record, leadership wanted to improve their methods of hosting and maintaining eTrak hardware. They needed the ability to automatically scale up to meet temporary surges in demand on resources during peak recreation league season without having to commit to capital and other expenditures to increase physical hardware hosted internally. Improving the security posture of the eTrak systems was also a high priority.
To address all of the issues the eTrak team identified during the initial consultation and problem definition stage, LCE proposed migrating the system to the cloud using Amazon Web Services (AWS). During the architecture and development of the solution, an additional issue related to redundancy and system availability became very apparent, which was easily addressed by LCE’s proposed solution.
The systems architected and built in AWS provide a secure, repeatable, and scalable environment which allows for auto-scaling to address spikes in resource needs, redundancy which allows for improved availability, and built-in security and maintenance of services that previously would require manual updates and maintenance.
St. Andrew’s Parks and Playground is now poised to move eTrak from a locally hosted environment into a secure AWS ecosystem. As eTrak continues to bring on new customers, the team will be able to execute the automated deployment scripts and fully provision a new Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) as needed. Each VPC is segregated, locked down to reduce the possible attack vector that could be used to try to compromise the site, and incorporates the security features and services that AWS provides. In addition, AWS includes a new level of redundancy to eTrak, which will allow the team to continue the implementation of a continuous integration (CI) process, creating a more automated work flow from development, to test, to pre-production and finally production. All of these enhancements will improve the system maintenance process and reduce system outages.
LCE’s software and security experts are proud to have helped equip St. Andrew’s Parks and Playground Commission to meet the ever-evolving needs of the parks and recreation industry. eTrak is poised to keep growing in a very healthy way and that’s good news for the many communities that benefit from its efficient and cost-effective software.