On Monday, August 29, 2005, New Orleans was hit with one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. While the devastation incurred by Hurricane Katrina can hardly be given proper reflection in a tech blog, the lessons learned by the IT department at Loyola University, located in Uptown New Orleans, can serve as a reminder of the importance of having a well-developed disaster recovery IT plan.
In 2007 and 2008, Bret L. Jacobs, Executive Director of Technology at Loyola University, presented at NY Tech Summit. Jacobs provided a timeline of the disaster and touched on major lessons learned by the Loyola University IT department in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. (Click for a full PDF of the presentation.)
While the campus at Loyola University was spared major physical damage, power and water took weeks to restore and it was clear from the onset that the recovery process would be long-term. Just 8 days after Hurricane Katrina hit, critical systems were restored at Loyola University’s recovery center in Illinois. A full fifty-five days later, all IT functions returned to Loyola campus.
Loyola University had established a disaster recovery plan in 2003 and tested it annually. However, the lessons learned are priceless to those involved in the recovery process:
While it’s clear that all organizations need a disaster recovery plan – and on a larger scale, a business continuity plan – it can be hard to know where to start. SearchDisasterRecovery.com is a great resource for templates, tutorials, monitoring tools and tips (a free membership is required to access resources).