Electronic technology is great when it works, but it’s far less reliable than a textbook and blackboard (just ask a teacher in California!). Here is a systematic way to create a plan for responding to unexpected computer downtime, either in the classroom or in administration offices:
- Define possible threats. As a team, think about all the things that could go wrong, from computer malfunctions to sabotage by students or staff.
- Conduct impact analysis. Consider the impact of each of those threats and rank them from most damaging to least, and from most likely to least.
- Generate possible responses. Consider different approaches for responding to each threat.
- Identify responses. Choose a course of action for each type of threat. Be as detailed as possible. For example, if a decision is made that certain information cannot be lost, even temporarily, then decide how to provide an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) to that computer.
- Adjust policies to reflect the plan. If creating the fail-safe plan results in needing to obtain more information about users of the system or restricting their activities, make sure that everyone is told what changes are being madeand why.
- Implement the plan. Make it someone’s priority to ensure that it will be done.
- Review the plan periodically. This includes checking backup computer systems and networks on a regular basis to make sure they are backing up data as expected.