tidBiTS
Informs and engages the UNB community on IT developments and news

Management Briefing - IT Disaster Recovery Strategy

Author: ITS

Posted on Apr 26, 2013

Category: Management Briefings

Background For several years, annual financial audit reports have highlighted the need for an up‐to‐date IT disaster recovery (DR) plan; however, without a physical facility to house redundant equipment, UNB’s existing IT DR plan is largely theoretical and cannot be expected to provide adequate guidance should a disaster in the primary data centre actually occur. This situation was resolved when management selected a DR site, and provided funding to equip it appropriately. Timeline External consultants have inspected the proposed space and are preparing detailed plans for renovations and installation of equipment. This will be completed mid‐May, and work on the DR site will begin as soon as tenders for the necessary power, cooling, and networking upgrades are finalized. The entire DR site preparation and installation should be completed within the year, though there is slight risk of delays due to the large number of projects currently or soon to be underway. With work started on the DR site, resources are now being applied to re‐writing the IT DR plan itself. The existing plan was written in 2005; it was decided to abandon this plan and create a new one. ITS’ Director of Quality Assurance and Process Management is leading this effort, and is currently gathering data as input to the new plan. Extensive internal consultations will continue to take place throughout summer and fall 2013, and a draft plan will be completed in early 2014. Testing A crucial step in the DR planning process is to test the plan in a simulated emergency scenario. This has never been done at UNB; it is our intention to carry out a realistic test in the summer of 2014, to ensure the plan meets the university’s needs and expectations. Other risk mitigation strategies Several related projects have been undertaken in the last couple of years to ensure that UNB’s IT resources and services remain available regardless of events: 1. New uninterruptable power supplies (UPSs) have been installed to ensure there is a steady and controlled supply of power to the primary data centre in Head Hall. These are essentially batteries that regulate the flow of electricity to network and server equipment during fluctuations resulting from surges due to electrical storms and unexpected power supplier issues. 2. A new, dedicated power generator has been installed to keep the data centre operational during power outages. The generator is started and tested monthly, and will keep IT services and infrastructure running when needed. 3. Enhanced IT security processes and techniques ensure protection of our infrastructure and data against external and internal attacks and misuse. 4. The primary UNB data centre in Head Hall is being renovated to increase its capacity, reliability, efficiency, and longevity.

April 26, 2013 ‐ Terry Nikkel, AVP, ITS