The University of Texas at Austin

Information Technology Services Disaster Recovery Drill

March 8, 2012

Information Technology Services (ITS) senior staff and key personnel participated in a four hour Disaster Recovery exercise this week. It was both eye-opening and powerful. The scenario addressed by ITS readiness teams was a direct hit to the UT Austin campus by a Category 5 hurricane. Bob Harkins, Associate Vice President, Campus Safety and Security, joined the exercise as an observer and shared that he was extremely impressed with what he saw and the “commitment and smarts in the room.” Kevin Hegarty, Chief Financial Officer, stopped by to commend the group for taking the time out of daily responsibilities to focus on such a vital concern.

The exercise was very successful in capturing organizational strengths and identifying potential problems and risks. Having everyone work together helped point out dependencies, prerequisites and confirm the appropriate order for taking down and restoring services and systems. Take aways included increasing more geographic diversity for critical systems and equipment, clarification around the role of Web Central in disaster-related communications, being sure there are enough satellite pagers and radios on hand, and investigating an alternative phone number for the ITS Help Desk to use during a disaster.

Disaster recovery for critical services is an on-going concern for ITS. Efforts are made each year to build on and strengthen preparedness. IT governance made disaster recovery a specific goal for 2011/2012, including a commitment to invest in increasing the disaster recovery capabilities of the University and resolving outstanding issues.

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