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OIT Prepares for Emergency Management and Disaster Recovery

June 01, 2018

A room with computers and large televisions with national news displaying

OIT managers visit the San Antonio Emergency Operations Center.


Written by: Danicia Steele, Communication Specialist


Over the past few months, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) has collaborated with UTSA’s Office of Emergency Management to review critical IT operations and recovery processes for the OIT Business Continuity Plan. The Business Continuity Plan is managed by the UTSA Office of Business Continuity & Emergency Management (BCEM) and is used to help establish methods to maintain business operations during or after a disruptive event.

OIT’s Communications Specialist Danicia Steele and Administrative Service Officer III Cindy Colston, who currently serve in the role of coordinating OIT’s Business Continuity Plan, collaborated with OIT management and BCEM to identify critical functions, policies, vulnerabilities, and recovery procedures within each OIT department.

The current OIT Business Continuity Plan includes the following information for each department within OIT:

  • A list of primary IT services and functions
  • Recovery strategies for the loss of workplace, IT applications, communication services, and infrastructure services
  • An emergency department call tree
  • Internal and external recovery resources

In support of OIT’s continuing efforts for emergency planning, Assistant Vice Provost for IT Vanessa Hammler Kenon, Ed.D., Director of Customer Service and Operations Support Ben Garcia, and Director of Learning Technologies Joe Tobares participated in the North SA Chamber’s Annual Site Visit. The site visit took place on May 24, 2018 at the San Antonio Emergency Operations Center.

“This site visit gave us a unique opportunity to meet with city and county business continuity and disaster recovery leaders, as well as business and educational technology leaders from across the county to discuss best practices under numerous emergency circumstances,” said Kenon. “This was an amazing opportunity for OIT leadership to work with community leaders in this area to ensure we are continually moving in the right direction with emergency management and disaster recovery.”


Ben Garcia and Joe Tobares holding a small round VOIP device

Ben Garcia and Joe Tobares view the latest VOIP technology.


The visit included briefings and in-depth educational tours of the Policy Room, Regional Medical Operations Center, Command Center and Data Center. The tour was facilitated by San Antonio IT Business Relationship Manager Hakeem Miles. OIT leaders collaborated with multiple regional companies to discuss best emergency management practices.

“I was impressed with the level of technology, resources, and examples of collaboration and participation between the city, county, and state agencies involved in running the Emergency Operations Center,” Garcia shared. “While one should never wish for the occurrence of a disaster or contingency event, it is comforting to know that San Antonio and Bexar County have an Emergency Operations Center suited for the handling of major disasters and contingency event emergencies. The site visit was a great validation of our efforts to enhance and further develop our business continuity and disaster recovery planning.”

OIT is committed to supporting emergency management to ensure the university has the proper resources and procedures to continue services in the case of a disruptive event.