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The survivability and continuity characteristics of the IT infrastructure for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) are the subjects of this case study.

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Introduction

Introduction

The Case Subject

The survivability and continuity characteristics of the IT infrastructure for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) are the subjects of this case study.  On the agency website, IEMA publicly states its mission:

To protect the State of Illinois through integrated approaches of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to prepare for, respond to, mitigate against and recover from emergencies and disasters, or acts of terrorism.

IEMA has 15 facilities located around the State, and 4 mobile command posts, which provide communications resources and meeting facilities.  In addition, the infrastructure includes connections with 6 nuclear power plants around the State.  The agency has around 260 employees, the majority of which work in the Division of Nuclear Safety.  

Case Study Focus

This case study first examines the current systems with respect to survivability and performance characteristics of the overall IT infrastructure, and then considers potential improvements to that infrastructure.  For manageability, our study is weighted towards functions of the Division of Nuclear Safety.  IEMA’s Division of Nuclear Safety monitors 11 nuclear power reactors at six nuclear stations licensed to generate electricity in Illinois; inspects and escorts spent nuclear fuel shipments; and ensures public safety through inspection, licensing, accreditation and certification of medical professionals, radiation-producing equipment and facilities.

In this case study, IT infrastructure documentation, and information regarding “critical agency functions” and “critical applications to support those functions” was made available.  This access to information is critical to a successful, accurate assessment, and cannot be over-valued.  

Current Issues

1) The merging of two agencies, and IT infrastructures, into one agency and IT infrastructure.

...read more.

Middle

Findings:

Summary of Critical Applications

An assessment of applications that are run from each Agency facility was made.  From this assessment, critical agency functions and supporting applications were identified.  

The Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) provided a method of ranking agency applications.  This method requires that applications be assigned a category number from 1 to 5 using the following guidelines, which were approved by the Governor’s Office for use by all State agencies:

Category One – Human Safety

Any resources that directly impact the lives and safety of Illinois citizens, including state employees. Examples: Police, Fire, Medical, Corrections, Child Welfare, etc.

Category Two – Welfare Human Service

Any resources that directly impact the well being of Illinois citizens.  Examples: Assistance, Benefits, Vital Records, etc.

Category Three – Non-Welfare Human Service

A human service resource that indirectly impacts the welfare of Illinois citizens. Examples: Registries, Licensure, Tracking, Vendor related, etc.

Category Four – Administrative State Functions & Processes

Resources that support the administration of state processes. Examples: Payroll, Compensation, Procurement, Accounts Payable, etc.

Category Five – Support of Specific Agency Functions & Processes

Resources related to the maintenance of a specific agency function or process.

Examples: Laboratory, Utilities, Diagnostics, Statistical systems, Application Code Tools, etc.

Based on those categories, the following tables, taken directly from the IEMA Disaster Recovery Plan, provide a breakdown of the Agency’s critical and non-critical applications:  

CMS Category

Agency Function

Critical Applications Needed to Support Agency Function

1

IEMA must be able to respond to a radiological accident at an Illinois nuclear power plant and provide emergency response guidelines to state and local government agencies

  1. Remote Monitoring System and REAC Support
  2. Mobile Laboratory GENIE System

IEMA must be able to escort shipments of spent nuclear fuel in Illinois.  In addition, the EOC must be able to access the Internet.

  1. Internet Web Access

IEMA must be able to perform radiological inspections to support cleanup activities, decommissioning projects, and areas involved with an accidental nuclear material spill to the environment

  1. West Chicago GENIE System
  2. ArcInfo Geographical Information System (GIS)

IEMA must be able to identify and license the individuals and facilities where radioactive materials are stored and handled.

  1. Radioactive Materials Licensing and Inspection Database

2

None

None

Application Restoration Priorities

Based on the critical application assessments, applications that exist at a given facility were noted and placed in either a Critical or Non-Critical category.  The restoration process is designed to restore Critical applications first, followed by any remaining Non-Critical applications, if possible.  The tables below outline the predominate applications that are active at the two main Agency facilities.  

Facility Name

Application

Internal
Criticality Level

Adams Street

EM2000

Remote Monitoring System

Dispatch Center Access to RMS

REAC Center Access to RMS

Local Area Network

Internet Web Access
Database Access
Remote Access/Dial-in Capabilities
Electronic Mail

Internet Mail Access

Intranet Web Server Access

Publishing/Communications

Document Imaging
SQL Development

Critical

Critical

Critical

Critical

Critical

Critical

Critical

Critical
Critical
Critical

Non-Critical

Non-Critical
Non-Critical
Non-Critical

Outer Park

Remote Monitoring System

REAC Center Access to RMS

Local Area Network

Internet Web Access
Database Access
Remote Access/Dial-in Capabilities
Electronic Mail

Internet Mail Access

Intranet Web Server Access

Publishing/Communications

Document Imaging
SQL Development

Critical

Critical

Critical

Critical

Critical

Critical
Critical
Critical

Non-Critical

Non-Critical
Non-Critical
Non-Critical

...read more.

Conclusion

Business Continuity Disclosure Statement:

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) supports several systems that are critical to the safety of the citizens of Illinois.  To ensure the delivery of critical services supported by those systems, IEMA utilizes a comprehensive approach to continuity planning, an approach that increases the survivability and fault tolerance of those critical systems.  In the event of a disaster that limits our current capabilities, we have plans in place to restore operations quickly and efficiently.  These plans are “living documents” and thus are evaluated constantly and updated according to an established schedule.  


REFERENCES & ENDNOTES

  • Mission-Critical Network Planning, Matthew Liotine, 2003
  • IDS 594 Business Continuity Planning, Instructor Dr. Matthew Liotine
  • Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Systems Documentation
  • IEMA Disaster Recovery Plan, William M. Waggoner, IEMA
  • Special Thanks to Steve Ellis, IEMA Networks, IT Guru

[1]From SFY05 State Budget Book:

The state spends over $640 million annually on technology, including personnel, infrastructure and contractual services.  The state’s information technology function is highly decentralized, with most IT decisions made independently with little consistency or synergy among agencies. The consequence is a duplication of investments between agencies and higher technology costs. In addition to developing critical IT standards for the state, the IT initiative has achieved substantial savings through a series of renegotiations and reductions. For example, CMS achieved a 20 percent reduction in the cost of Centrex telephone lines, a 45 percent reduction in the cost of selected wireless services, and a 20 percent reduction in the number of IT contractors working with state agencies.

Information Technology Initiative Savings

FY2004-FY2006i

FY2004 FY2005 FY2006

Gross Savings         $35,000,000         $70,600,000         $127,000,000

Investment         $14,400,000         $20,000,000         $ 10,000,000

Net Savings         $20,600,000         $50,600,000         $117,000,000

...read more.

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