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Working Together to Avoid Disaster

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Published: March 29, 2019

Cleveland Community College and Isothermal Community College
team up to keep information safe

Today, most business and educational institutions conduct a large portion of their work through electronic systems. Records are stored electronically, communications systems are electronic, even controlling the heating and cooling systems are through an electronic system.

For records storage, especially, these advances in technology have been a huge benefit. One, it frees up physical storage space within an organization – no more rooms filled with huge filing cabinets; and the records storage is much more secure. Fire may cause a temporary problem accessing records, but the records are not destroyed. To minimize service interruptions in the event fire or another disaster affects an organizations physical location, many have begun hosting backup systems at an off-site location.

 “Having an off-site location for disaster recovery and backup is essential for any organization,” said Jonathan Davis, chief information officer at Cleveland Community College. “Isothermal Community College and Cleveland Community College are both North Carolina Community College System institutions and are part of a super-fast and reliable fiber optic network that allows each of us to easily and securely backup to each other’s location using an encrypted virtual private network (VPN) tunnel.”


This preparation is like an insurance policy. If one of the colleges experiences a major disaster, they can get day-to-day operations up and running much faster, even if they must move to a temporary location.


“There were two major factors that I thought were important, such as knowing and trusting the co-location site where my college data files would be hosted. With the new FERPA laws regarding student records and all the issues with today's security breaches, it was important to me to partner with a trusted organization such as Cleveland CC,” said Robby Walters, chief information officer at Isothermal Community College. “The second benefit involved cost. There was some initial engineering cost to build the network between the two colleges, but other than that, we are talking little to no cost with this solution, so I am very thankful for the partnership.”


There are companies that offer hosting solutions, but they can be expensive. “If we hosted with a third-party hosting site, it would definitely be a large part of our IT budget, just to provide this service,” said Walters. “That would definitely take away from other IT areas that would suffer.”


Having access to the physical equipment is another reason the two colleges chose to work together instead of using a third-party site. “Since Isothermal and Cleveland are located about 26 miles apart, it is very convenient as an off-site location,” said Davis. “If we need to physically lay hands on our equipment at the off-site location, we’re just a 30-minute drive away.”


Word has gotten out and Davis and Walters have met with other schools as they are beginning to consider implementing similar back-up systems.

Contact: Mike Gavin

Paula Vess

Category: Spindale Campus

Keywords: cleveland, disaster