Does your department have a disaster recovery plan?
If there is one thing that we have learned in the past 15 years, it’s that the unexpected happens. From terrorist acts such as 9/11 or the Boston bombing in 2013; to random events such as the Blackout of 2003 and this year’s never-ending Polar Vortices and subsequent flooding, it is safe to say that we may not know what will happen, but we know that something will.
Of course, Disaster Recovery means something very different for public safety and first responders. As the front line of defense in the midst of a disaster, your systems are even more important in maintaining access. While typical Disaster Recovery Plans account for failing over radio systems, phone systems and communication systems, software failover is often not accounted for and can inhibit the speed and efficiency of response at a time when access to information is valued most.
May 2013 – NYC Hurricane Sandy After Action Report
While this statistic shows the importance of informing the public of the use of 911 for an emergency only, it also shows the public’s likeliness of calling 911 during an actual event. If your department is directly in the front line of the emergency, how will it continue to operate?
Continuing Department Operations with Business Continuity
Business Continuity is often interchanged with Disaster Recovery, though the two are rather different. Simply said, Disaster Recovery is data and systems-focused (how quickly systems can be back online from a technology standpoint) and Business Continuity is operations-focused (how can we maintain normal operations following a disaster). As you can see, Disaster Recovery is simply a part of the overall Business Continuity structure.
Business Continuity as a Service
In areas hardest hit by planned emergencies, such as hurricanes, a Department will need to evacuate its current location and switch to a remote location in order to continue operations. For cases like this, CAPERS software, a fully integrated CAD/RMS software provider based in Burr Ridge, IL, has implemented its Business Continuity as a Service for planned emergencies.
“In the event that a department needs to switch to a remote location, the department can contact us and initiate Business Continuity as a Service,” said Reed Konnerth, Operations Manager of CAPERS. “This will switch all services and software to a new location, but everything runs the same as if it were in the department.”
“We created Business Continuity as a Service for our planned emergency customers, those located in hurricane-prone areas such as the southeast U.S.,” said Konnerth. “However, we consistently work with our parent company, Intelligent Solutions, in determining the best Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery scenarios for our public safety customers; solutions that will allow a city/village as a whole, to setup multi-site failover locations. In the event of a building loss; due to an event like a fire or tornado, the systems can automatically start up in a new location, allowing the entire city or village the ability to access everything from that site.”
In the end, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity should be thought of as an on-going process. Working with an experienced software vendor that understands your department, your system and has a strong partnership with a technology company is imperative in preparing for the inevitable planned and unplanned emergencies that will arise in the future.
“At the turn of the last century, technology served to function as a desirable supplement to an organization’s infrastructure, much like the telephone at the turn of the previous century,” said Sebastian Abbinanti, President of The Isidore Group, a full-service IT Solutions Provider in Burr Ridge, IL. “Today however, both are the infrastructure of an organization and have become a requirement to its survival. Protecting technological infrastructure equates to protecting the survival of that organization.”