In the wake of recent hurricanes and other natural disasters, CDW Government Inc. (CDW-G) is offering recommendations that schools can use to avert IT breakdowns. While the hurricanes should have been a wakeup call, the company says, many schools—strapped for cash and IT personnel—still struggle to prepare for disasters and protect vital information.
“Few schools prepare in advance for disasters, and fewer yet have comprehensive disaster recovery plans in place,” said Vic Berger, lead technologist at CDW-G. “Despite the shift toward automated record keeping and centralized computer data, a brick-and-mortar mentality still prevails. We want to build awareness both of the problem and of the solution.”
CDW-G’s recommendations to improve the disaster preparedness of schools include:
- Physical security: Even when buildings are closed, they should be secured through video surveillance or security personnel. Additionally, schools should consider using removable hard drives that can be locked or secured off-site.
- Backup storage security: Districts should use a secondary data storage site, ideally regularly replicating data to this remote site.
- Remote access: It might take days for IT personnel to physically access a site because of water or debris. A secure, sockets-layer virtual private network (VPN) gives staff secure access to data from any internet-connected computer.