The recent spate of damaging tornados, debilitating blizzards and frightening earthquakes have made it clear that planning for disasters and creating a foundation for recovery are key efforts for any large organization.
No degree of planning can avoid the damaging effects of a disaster, whether it comes in the form of bad weather, accidents or even acts of terror. But careful and comprehensive planning can position an organization to deal with the unexpected, and to more quickly and successfully recover from a disaster.
To prepare for potential disastrous events, Information Technology Services has devoted more than a year to develop its Business Continuity-Disaster Recovery Plan and is currently in the process of testing the documented plan.
The overall plan being created by the division includes business impact analyses for numerous units of the University, a risk analysis and the creation of contingency and continuity plans. It also outlines recovery priorities and recovery plans for all aspects of information technology.
Perhaps most importantly, the plan includes a series of tests and evaluations which will allow the division to judge how effective it might be in case it needed to recover from any of a wide range of incidents.
Many tests were conducted in late 2010 in the form of "desktop exercises" where key staff members were asked to conduct a verbal walk though of steps they would take to deal with everything from a widespread power outage to major fires and weather-related events that would limit their abilities to conduct normal business.
In the coming months, more extensive exercises will be undertaken to test how the technical staff would "fail over" their activities from their primary data center to their backup center for six critical services: Banner, the SLU website, SLU Global, data bases, electronic Research Services and the electronic Institutional Review Board.
When possible, these exercises will be conducted without causing any interruption of service to users and will be scheduled during normal maintenance windows. In the event that a service will be interrupted, the University will be notified at least 72 hours in advance.
The plans for these "fail over exercises" have been written and documented, and now the goal is to test the plans.
Going forward, increasingly comprehensive exercises will be conducted as the division continues to refine its efforts.
Sunday, May 22, between 10 a.m.-4 p.m., ITS will conduct the fail over exercise for the Banner system. Access to Banner should not be affected by the testing process; however, if you do experience any disruption in Banner services, please notify the IT Service Desk via phone: 314-977-4000.
Please contact Steve Dosenbach at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns regarding the ITS business continuity-disaster recovery plan.