Friday 17 March – Power Cut and IT Outage – Communications

Content of Messages

  • Explanation of the situation
  • Explanation that the situation was caused externally – i.e. not by IT Services
  • Reassurance that the matter was being handled
  • Request to remain at work and come to work on Monday
  • Warning of prolonged IT disruption

Communications Channels

  • A3 posters on car park barriers and bus stops
  • Telephone calls to managers of each department by Personnel Advisors– only 6 unobtainable
  • Posters in student kitchens
  • Message on Students’ Union website
  • Message on RaW (the student radio station)
  • Messages on the IT Helpdesk call handling system for staff and students
  • IT Services helpdesk staff briefed
  • Personnel staff briefed
  • Telephone exchange staff briefed
  • Shadow website set up
  • Voicemail box set up for feedback and questions

Improvements for the Future

  • Official Warwick shadow site set up – suggest purchasing http://www.warwickuniversity.co.uk or similar
  • Use of the electronic notice board at the Gatehouse
  • Voicemail to every staff desk phone
  • Text messages to all University mobiles
  • Messages on local radio as soon as the situation develops
  • Develop a telephone tree so that managers and staff can be reached efficiently
  • Ensure that the up-to-date telephone directory is available on a stand-alone PC
  • Scenario testing and update of the Crisis Plan

A version of the original note:

Early this morning there was a fire in an electricity sub-station in Earlsdon, Coventry.

This caused a high-voltage switch on the University’s inner power loop to blow.

It took all power out of some buildings on campus – including the IT Services machine room.

When the power was switched back on it blew a component of the electricity system in the IT Services machine room.

This component has to be replaced completely – this should be completed by the end of the day (Friday 17 March).

Until electricity is restored to this room IT Services cannot assess the damage or restore any IT systems.

The
IT restoration process is expected to take some time and some systems
may still be offline next week – you should plan for major disruption
of central IT services.

The majority of systems will certainly be off over the weekend (18–19 March).

IT Services will be working hard to get systems up and running again as soon as power is restored.

Essential departmental services and processes must still be maintained during this period.

Please use your discretion and work on tasks not requiring IT systems.

All staff are expected to come to work on monday as normal.

If you have an essential IT system which must be restored as a priority please ring extension 22876 and leave a voicemail.

If you have any questions about the outage, staffing or IT issues please ring ext. 22876 and leave a voicemail.

Further information will be posted over the weekend on the emergency website http://tomabbott.typepad.com/warwickuniversity

Holly’s Version

By the way – loving Holly’s version of the emergency website

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Comments
8 Responses to “Friday 17 March – Power Cut and IT Outage – Communications”
  1. Casey – we just have to have a proper back up site (we can’t just rely on Holly!)

  2. Casey Leaver says:

    I agree – it’s something that we have raised with elab in the past.

    There are a series of things that we can do to prepare for a similar situation.

    Happy to discuss!

  3. Chris May says:

    I
    agree, though I’d caution against putting too much reliance on it. You
    can’t use it to communicate with external folk (prospective students /
    staff / research collaborators /etc) because there’s no easy way to
    tell them of the standby URL – they’ll expect to go to http://www.warwick.ac.uk, and if they can’t find that they’ll give up. (You can’t quickly move that URL to somewhere else, at least not with the network infrastructure we have here).

    And
    for people on-campus, it’s only any use having an offsite backup
    content if they can reach it; historic data suggests that, at least
    from on-campus, http://www.warwick.ac.uk is significantly more reliable than
    our internet access is

    So the only people you could help are staff and students who are off-campus. But how are they going to know what URL to look at? I guess that in the event of another friday-afternoon disaster they could note the URL on their way out (via a poster, or a voicemail, or an SMS),
    and look at it over the weekend, but it’s a relatively small benefit.
    If the problem occurred on a monday morning there’d be hardly any
    benefit at all, it seems to me.

  4. Message on Students’ Union website

    That has to be the most useful one 😉

  5. hehe I read the title of this as Power Cut and IT Outrage lol 🙂

  6. Easy
    to say this with benefit of hindsight but if we imagine an absolutely
    worst case scenario (a la Hurricane Katrina) then an off-site option
    becomes a necessity as a means of providing information to staff,
    students and others.

  7. Helen Ryan says:

    If
    you did have an address such as warwickuniversity.co.uk, it’d need to
    have redirects to the real site on it in case people try that out by
    mistake. It’d be important that any emergency info was taken down when
    there wasn’t an outage in case we give the impression that our systems
    are thoroughly unreliable.

    As for letting people know about
    it, it could be publicised when the normal channels are working
    (particularly amoingst staff) so people already know where to look.

  8. My reliable source of information before 8am came from the well informed MSB cleaning supervisor.

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