Protecting Data in the Eye of the Storm

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Superstorm Sandy swept the East Coast in late October, leaving not only residents and businesses without power and struggling to stay afloat, but thousands of schools in the region without power as well. It reminded administrators of the need for comprehensive emergency plans to ensure student, staff, and data security.

The storm marked the biggest disruption for the New York City school system since the attacks of September 11, 2001, officials reported. And just 30 miles east of Manhattan, the Long Beach Public School District in Long Beach, N.Y., on Long Island, was flooded with Atlantic Ocean water. The district’s six schools and 95 percent of the homes in the beach community of 35,000 people were damaged, impacting not only students but also the majority of school staff, who live in town.

Though schools were closed to students for two weeks, district leaders and technology officers worked to ensure that data systems were safe using emergency generators and backup systems. Despite the loss of electricity, water, phone lines, and sanitation services for days, no school data were forfeited to the storm, according to Long Beach Public School District Superintendent David Weiss.