How HCC maintained online operations during Hurricane Harvey

Oct 27, 2017

Houston Community College (HCC) staff members worked around the clock to maintain online operations during Hurricane Harvey. The success of the HCC Information Technology (IT) team allowed students to register online and keep all internal and external technology services running during the height of the storm.

“To prepare for the event, IT leadership stocked the main Data Center with supplies for the IT staff who were on duty 24 hours a day throughout the hurricane,” says William Carter, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology.

The IT Department had disaster recovery plans in place prior to the hurricane.  So, when Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast, the IT team was ready for it.  The team had reviewed the IT Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans, implemented on-call procedures, and verified and updated the IT emergency contact list.  In addition, IT backed up all systems to tape and moved them to our offsite vendor for safe and secure storage.

To prepare and survive Hurricane Harvey, IT relied on other HCC departments to keep services running.  “The HCC Facilities Department was mission critical to keeping IT services available,” Carter says.  “Facilities did a great job stocking excess diesel fuel for the generators and monitoring electrical and AC levels in the Data Centers throughout the storm."

This teamwork allowed HCC senior management to monitor and maintain Harvey’s potential impact on the IT system and supported the decision to keep HCC’s vital systems operating and available.

In the end, while Harvey forced HCC to delay fall classes and in-person registration, the IT team kept online registration, all communications systems, and other operations running.  “The Hurricane presented stressful challenges to the IT team,” Carter says.  “I am proud that we stepped up to meet and overcome those challenges in a way that benefitted our students, faculty, and staff.”

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