Irene Prepares State to Confront Sandy

Business Continuity Lessons Learned from One Storm to Survive Another
Kris Rowley feels she can take Sandy's punch. Having survived the battering Irene gave Vermont in 2011, the state's CISO knows how better to defend state IT as the remnants of Hurricane Sandy take aim at the Green Mountain State.

Tropical Storm Irene last year devastated much of Vermont, as extensive flooding significantly damaged a major state data center [see Disaster Averted for Most IT Systems].

"After Irene, we moved a lot of things to the cloud, and our physical data centers have been moved to higher grounds so that the devastation that we experienced last year won't happen again," Rowley says in an interview with Information Security Media Group's GovInfoSecurity. "It's the backup and redundancy I strongly suggest to people who are in areas that are flood prone, or potentially flood prone. It's the potential you don't look at until you get hit with it. Then, you see the potential, and it becomes the reality."

In the interview, conducted hours before Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the East Coast, Rowley explains:

  • Specific steps the state had taken after Irene to assure business continuity;
  • Proper use of cloud computing as part of the state's continuity of operations plan;
  • Why Vermont, unlike other states, is better suited to allow IT and IT security personnel to work from home during a weather emergency.

A former nurse who changed her career after a back injury, Rowley earned a master of science degree in information assurance from Norwich University. She has served as Vermont's CISO since September 2008.

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