Test of the Continuity of Operations Plan at Oswego County BOCES

On January 20th, a full-scale exercise to evaluate the continuity of operations, specifically business office functions, in recovery from a crisis event at OCB was held. The exercise tested OCB’s ability to access business office information from off-site and perform an accounts payable function using backed up data from a remote server located in another district.

The security department, in cooperation with IT and the business office, set up a mobile base of operations at the Mexico School District Office where they accessed the backed-up data on the remote secure server in another location, where critical information is backed up daily. Working cooperatively the OCB team was able to access the accounts payable information, and successfully print a check to the Central New York Regional Information Center (CNYRIC) located at OCM BOCES. The test was a full catastrophic failure test with restoration of all information from zero. The test also served to check the cooperation and function between the CNYRIC, OCB, the remote server, and the Mexico Academy and Central School District, who allowed the BOCES personnel to use their facilities to test the practical application of the recovery process.

OCB’s Director of Security, Michael Sterio, who coordinated the test, credited those involved in making the exercise a success, including Randy Griffin, Jennifer Woods, Kelly Wood, Gisele Benigno, Mike Sheperd, and Roger Kocher.

Gisele Benigno, Coordinator of Business Administration, PR, and Special Projects at OCB noted the need for a disaster recovery plan has been emphasized by auditors, saying, “Across the state, auditors have cited districts for their failure to have a disaster recovery plan in place for critical business office functions,” she said. “Now if an auditor asks, ‘Do you have a disaster recovery plan?’ I can say yes, and it has been successfully tested.”