Irene/Katrina Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

Abstract

Disaster recovery and business continuity are no one’s favorite topics on a good day; in times of economic downturn, making the case for being prepared may be even more difficult. However, there’s nothing like a good disaster to (once again) underscore the importance of planning for, and funding, the ability to continue college and university operations in the face of calamity. Eight weeks ago, Tropical Storm Irene hammered portions of the state of Vermont, and the data center and network operation for the five Vermont State Colleges experienced serious flooding. Communication plans, data center disaster recovery plans, and business continuity plans were put to the test during this disaster. As a hurricane, Irene passed over the University of Maryland without incident, but the university still put their plans into action as part of prudent preparation. In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were not so kind to universities in Louisiana, and LSU was called upon to deal with implications of disaster impacts that stretched the scope of their plan. This presentation will focus on what happened with Irene in Vermont, what was learned, and the human dimensions of dealing with disaster. It will also put these events into perspective with those that preceded them, and illustrate that being prepared?even when disaster misses you?is still a sound and valuable practice.

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