9/18/08 – Preparing for the Worst
Tropical storm Gustav has come and gone. The storm threatened to hit Louisiana and New Orleans as a category three hurricane, but stalled once it made landfall. Gustav brought back disturbing memories of the past, and the residents of New Orleans prepared for the worst. While levies were braced, sandbags filled, and shelters constructed another type preparation was being made. IT professionals were trying to prevent disaster. Anyone who thinks working with technology means a life sentence, doomed to toil in a musty basement, should consider the work of these individuals as they prepared to save what they could from New Orleans.
When a hurricane is about to hit IT workers have to scramble to save important data and help stranded people. The city was caught unprepared during Hurricane Katrina, so many organizations started training their workers for hurricane force IT emergencies.
We’ve had a lot of training and we meet daily … with our key personnel. This one is still a few days away. You have time to plan, but you don’t know what exactly you’re planning for. Do you revert your phone services, etc., to Houston or to New Orleans? You have to stay kind of light on your feet when you’re planning for a hurricane. We’ve been through this before.
Before a hurricane, action has to be taken to back up servers and link websites through intermediaries based in safer cities. Universities have to maintain websites so students can stay connected, businesses have to back up financial information, and hospitals have to stay in communication with others.
At St. Tammany Parish Hospital in Covington, La., spokeswoman Melissa Hodgson said Katrina’s fury prompted the 237-bed hospital to install a satellite communications system so that telephone and internet connectivity could be better maintained in future emergencies.
The hospital’s data center is in a bunker designed to withstand hurricane-force winds and is located 25 feet above sea level to prevent flooding. In 2005 hospitals had to use ham radios to communicate with rescuers, and patient information was lost. Thanks to IT professionals data and communication in New Orleans can be preserved, saving both money and lives!
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Here is a link to Blackboard: https://blackboard.ilstu.edu/webct/entryPageIns.dowebct
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