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A Publication Featuring The Information Services Technology of Maine State Government
|Volume VI, Issue 3||March 2003|
By Ginnie Ricker
Its 9AM, Tuesday, February 11, 2003. Edison Drive Operations Center (EDOC) has just been evacuated due to an inside chemical leak. The Customer Support Center (CSC) staff quickly responds by implementing their Business Continuity plans, which requires them to relocate.
Our test on February 11 was only a drill. However, this was the last phase of a long term Business Continuity project, to ensure our planning would satisfy customers and our expectations. All Business Continuity equipment was acquired (without spending any additional money), manuals were created, contact names and numbers were available, and alternate sites were selected. Certainly a great deal of planning and preparation had occurred prior to our test. Although the test did highlight areas for improvement (as we were hoping it would), the advance planning by CSC leader Dale Blake, and his team, enabled this test to be a real success.
What did we do during the test? Several of the recovery staff relocated to their alternate site while other team members stayed behind to continue to provide support during the transition. Once the transition was completed, and the recovery staff was able to log into the call queue from the alternative site, the team that stayed at our office logged out of the queue.
The recovery staff was able to remotely handle phone calls, update the voicemail status line, update the website, access WebNM and open tickets in the Service Center database! During this timeframe, a call from the Governors office was supported. The exciting result of this test was that our team was able to complete the transition without our customers being affected.
Coming to State government from a multi help desk environment, I know how important it is to be prepared to provide customers a known channel of communications during any type of disaster. Had this been a real evacuation, certain steps would have been implemented to notify our customers of the issue. During this brief timeframe, some impact to our customers could happen, and we will be working together to ensure this potential impact will be as minimal. We recognize that our role will change, in that the CSC may not be providing strictly technical support, but instead be maintaining a position of communications center for State government specifically for the Bureau of Information Services (BIS).
Stephanie Parker, BIS Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery Planner, participated in our test to perform an evaluation. She was very impressed with the preparedness of the team and the lack of impact to our customers. Some of the recommendations made that will be part of our immediate assessment are as follows.
The CSC will continue to assess this exercise and intends to test on a regular basis. If you have any questions regarding this exercise, please feel free to contact Ginnie Ricker (email@example.com) or Dale Blake (firstname.lastname@example.org).