New data contract for SF could improve information recovery post disaster 

In the event of a disaster, The City could be without critical information for weeks, an analysis of a proposed data center lease shows.

The City’s recovery capability for essential information and technology systems after a disaster would “vastly” improve if a proposed two-year, $270,834 agreement with the state’s California Technology Agency for a backup data center in Rancho Cordova is approved, according to city officials.

The agreement, which was approved Wednesday by the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee, would end the existing eight-year agreement with the tech service company SunGard. The company operates a data center in Philadelphia, which is currently costing $340,000 annually. The City would save $209,526 a year under the new arrangement.

A report by Budget Analyst Harvey Rose pointed out the vulnerabilities in the existing system.

The agreement with SunGard “does not provide sufficient safeguards to restore city information and communication technology services in a timely fashion following a natural or human-induced disaster,” said the Rose report.

A recovery of data “could take a week or longer” and the physical distance “does not provide easy access to city staff for maintenance or use during an emergency.” The new data site would be about 100 miles outside of The City compared to the approximate 3,000-mile distance.

The agreement “vastly enhances our disaster recovery services of the city information and technology infrastructure,” said John Updike, The City’s real estate director.

The new site would initially provide recovery capabilities for The City’s payroll system for government workers and contractors. Tech systems of other departments are envisioned to join later.

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