by CIO Staff

Disaster Recovery – P.S. on the Blackout: Mind Your IT

Jun 01, 20041 min
Disaster Recovery

On Aug. 14, 2003, a power company in northern Ohio called FirstEnergy missed signs that there were potential problems in its portion of North America’s electrical grid. The events that followed left an estimated 50 million people in the Northeast and Canada in the dark. It’s all laid out in the widely reported findings of a joint U.S.-Canada task force that investigated the causes of the blackout and recommended what to do to avoid big-scale outages in the future.

Among the points made in the March 31 report was a note many CIOs would appreciate: Mind your network infrastructures. Emergency management system and IT staff at utilities must monitor the quality of computer networks that provide data on power supplies and demand. Make sure the networks can be restored quickly in the case of downtime. Set up disaster recovery plans. Provide adequate staff training, including verbal communication protocols “so that operators are aware of any IT-related problems that may be affecting their situational awareness of the power grid.”

The commission didn’t say so, but you could call these procedures best practices.