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How State and Local IT Teams Learn From Disaster

Learn how state IT leaders have learned valuable lessons from the tragedies of Hurricane Katrina.

It’s hard to believe that nearly a decade has passed since Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast in late August 2005. Even today, New Orleans still is rebuilding parts of its Ninth Ward.

Amid the scars of destruction, the hurricane prompted a keen focus on disaster recovery preparation and practices. Governments have reflected on the lessons learned in preparing for disasters, minimizing damage and moving on. Today, mobile technology, cloud computing and desktop virtualization make it easier for agencies to maintain continuity of operations.

The Louisiana Supreme Court recently relocated a backup site from a remote part of the state to Shreveport. CIO Mike Evanson made that decision because he wanted to house the facility in a metropolitan area with a strong communications infrastructure and enough hotel rooms to accommodate IT staffers who might need to work there. In addition, the court upgraded its infrastructure with new servers, switches, a storage area network and replication software.

In Mississippi, communications failures during Hurricane Katrina spawned creation of a 700-megahertz, push-to-talk land-mobile radio network for first responders that is the pride of the Magnolia State. And as part of the Mississippi Health Network, the state now has digitized medical records in case another disaster wipes out physical documents.

Speaking of the advances made, Mississippi CIO Craig Orgeron says, “I don’t think that there’s any way without a storm and a tragedy the scope of Katrina that we would be anywhere near where we are.”

To learn more about how agencies that were in the eye of the storm have strengthened their disaster readiness and recovery stance and treat it as an evolving practice, check out “A Decade After Katrina, IT Leaders Share Lessons Learned.”

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Jul 23 2015

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