October 3, 2018 by Siobhan Climer
From hurricanes to cyberattacks, and everything in between, school districts across the U.S. are increasingly in need of up-to-date disaster recovery plans. But developing an effective disaster recovery plan that prepares you for the unexpected is no easy task, regardless of the industry. Due to the unique operational functions of a school district, planning for disaster recovery in schools is even more challenging. As such, we have developed a disaster recovery template to help you get started, and we have laid out the strategic steps you can take to build an effective disaster recovery plan.
Disaster Recovery In Schools: DR Template
To get started, simply download our Disaster Recovery Plan for schools below. If you get stuck or need help, simply contact a Mindsight representative to help you develop a more specific DR plan for your school district. Every district has its own needs, so you may need additional components not included in the free template.
Disaster Recovery Strategy
Use these steps to help you develop a strategic and effective disaster recovery plan for your district. Planning for disaster recovery in schools is an especially collaborative process, so be sure to engage with your team, seek feedback from the community, and give yourself adequate time to develop a complete policy.
No single person can find every nook and cranny that may be exploited, intentionally or otherwise, during a disaster event. By including the IT team, administration, teachers, and community in your disaster recovery planning, you ensure varied perspectives are given weight during the process. Everything from the HR payroll to storage switches will be accounted for with a collaborative strategy.
Accounting for every potential disaster event is impossible, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Break down disaster events into two categories, natural and human-made, to help make the task easier. The DR Template above includes a table in Appendix A that conveys many – though certainly not an exhaustive list – of the disaster events to which your district may be at risk. Disaster recovery in schools is complicated, and the physical environment and societal system in which your district operates may significantly affect your risk assessment.
Not sure how to proceed with your technology roadmap? Join Mindsight experts for our weekly (free!) whiteboard sessions. In these one-on-one conversations, our consultants and architects will hear what is happening in your environment and help you identify the next steps to meet your objectives.
Define Strategies, Technologies, and Procedures
For every potential disaster event, there are possible consequences and response actions your team can take. Break down each event and determine the resources needed to properly respond. For example, if flooding might negatively impact your on-site data center, do you have a cloud backup solution in place? Finding the right solutions, and determining the procedures required to utilize those solutions, is essential for planning disaster recovery in schools.
Ensure Regular Review
This is critical. You should consider your Disaster Recovery Plan a living document, which means it should be amended, updated, changed, and reviewed regularly. We recommend reviewing the document at least every six months, though the policies or specific needs of your district may require different intervals.
Testing, Testing, 1-2-3
In every technology environment, testing and verification are essential to ensuring a reproducible and fail-safe strategy. Every element of your DR plan should have a fire-drill like procedure, that ensures the right people are ready to do the right thing should the wrong thing – a disaster event – occur.
Expect The Unexpected
Disaster recovery in schools – and, really, everywhere – is about being prepared for the unforeseen. Ensure your district is prepared with a disaster recovery plan that accounts for the various risks and consequences that may affect your district. If you need any help in developing either your DR plan, or the technologies that support your plan, reach out to Mindsight today.
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About The Author
Siobhan Climer, Science and Technology Writer for Mindsight, writes about technology trends in education, healthcare, and business. She previously taught STEM programs in elementary classrooms and museums, and writes extensively about cybersecurity, disaster recovery, cloud services, backups, data storage, network infrastructure, and the contact center. When she’s not writing tech, she’s writing fantasy, gardening, and exploring the world with her twin two-year old daughters. Find her on twitter @techtalksio.