Tameside is getting ready for a disaster

TAMESIDE Council has been told to get itself ready for a disaster.

Not one that is coming but making sure its data systems are able to cope with one if it happens.

The authority is currently going through the process of ensuring its back up systems are in place should an incident hit its current ones.

A temporary site at Tameside Hospital’s Data Centre has been found but later this year, it is planned they will switch to a new site in Ashton’s old swimming baths with the hospital facility becoming the council’s first disaster recovery site.

A temporary site at Tameside Hospital’s Data Centre has been found

Should the area be hit, systems under the critical priority recovery tag will be back up and running in a day or two, high priority recovery systems within three to five days and medium priority recovery items in just over a week.

And once in place, the council could run from a remote site if needed.

However, that is because an audit by external firm Mazars highlighted the lack of one.

Auditor Karen Murray told Tameside Council’s audit panel: “There hasn’t been a disaster recovery plan in place for IT systems.

“Our recommendation is you put one in place and test it periodically. I’m pleased to say that is something management did already have underway.”

A report adds: “Our work on IT general controls identified the council does not have formal disaster recovery provisions in place.

“Major incidents or disasters may cause outage of one or more business critical systems, causing data loss, thereby affecting the availability and integrity of information.”

Tameside Council said in response to the report: “All critical systems are subject to robust back up procedures.

“Service business continuity plans are place for all key services, identifying arrangements for operation in the event of IT systems failure and prioritisation for recovery from back-ups.

“A corporate IT business continuity and disaster recovery plan is now in draft.

“The council approved its first cyber security strategy and associated action plan in September 2020 and it is currently in the process of commissioning a new state-of-the-art TIER 3 Data Centre in the Ashton Old Baths site.

“When these commissioning works are complete in late autumn, all the council’s in-house hosted systems will be transferred to the new facility from their temporary home in Tameside Hospital’s Data Centre.

“Once all the systems have been moved the hospital site will be re-purposed as the council’s first disaster recovery site with capacity and infrastructure to quickly recover and run all of the council’s in-house hosted systems.”

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