Tips on preparing school data for the unexpected

CoSN’s IT Crisis Preparedness Leadership website includes information on what a school’s or district’s planning process should include: plans for disaster mitigation and prevention before disaster strikes; communication and continued availability of services during a disaster; and following a disaster, evaluation of the plan’s and ongoing planning’s effectiveness. The website resources emphasize the importance of communication to ensure that all involved understand their designated role in the event of a crisis.

The site also includes a 10 Step Technology Recovery Checklist to help IT and school administrators. The checklist includes important actions such as contacting critical IT vendors immediately, accessing data stored on old servers even if the servers are damaged, and contacting off-site data backup providers to alert them to the situation.

“Sadly in the past several years, cities and communities nationwide have been wrought with severe devastation by natural disasters, from hurricanes on and up the Gulf and East Coasts, to flooding along the Mississippi, to Western fires, to tornadoes across the Midwest and South, including very recently in Moore, Okla. These unfortunate, still raw realities necessitate that school technology leaders are actively prepared for the next catastrophe to strengthen student safety and maintain business continuity throughout their districts,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “Provided at no cost, our resources help to equip K-12 leaders with the knowledge and foresight needed to think ahead of the next crisis and prepare for the unexpected.”

When it comes to securing and restoring data, school administrators should make electronic and paper copies of vital records and recovery plans, and should maintain offsite data storage and data centers. Testing an offsite data backup provider’s disaster recovery plan is a good idea, too.

The website also includes planning and recovery tips and features case studies detailing the experiences and best practices of other school administrators K-12 technology officers. For CoSN members, there are additional materials available at a cost, including a planning workbook containing worksheets that guide chief technology officers through each step in the planning process.

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