Article Features Web Exclusive Jackie Alexander

Mission Viejo Thinks Ahead on Disaster Recovery

Jackie Alexander is director of information technology for Mission Viejo and can be reached at

 Mission Viejo is taking the lead as the first city in Orange County to streamline its disaster recovery plan with a remote location in neighboring San Diego — increasing the reliability and availability of the city’s emergency response systems and records to keep the community safer. 

“Public safety and disaster preparedness have always been a hallmark of our city’s agenda,” observes Mayor Frank Ury. “Improving the city’s emergency response is vital to the community’s safety and well-being.”

Mission Viejo formulated its disaster recovery plan over a two-year period, which included conducting a thorough risk analysis of systems and evaluating recovery time for business processes.

The city examined any threat that can cause a system outage, from virus attacks and accidental data deletion to natural disasters like floods, fires and earthquakes. Through the review process, the city established a list of critical applications, technology services and recovery time objectives for each. City officials chose leased space in San Diego to create redundancy and a recovery location for its critical systems and electronic data. 

Now if a disaster strikes, the city can restore vital systems and information to its emergency operations center within minutes rather than days and can activate that center from any location with Internet access. With a proactive city council, city management and information technology staff, Mission Viejo is committed to using technology to improve risk mitigation, emergency preparedness, operations efficiency and services to the public. 
Along with a remote disaster recovery location, the city also digitized nearly 3 million paper documents and made them available to the public online as part of its continued commitment to practicing good government. Digitization means less paper, and more government transparency. The city will save money in hardware and maintenance-related costs, and it has reduced energy consumption.

Ury says the plan is a “win-win” for emergency responders, the city and the community as a whole. He adds, “It’s not a matter of if an emergency will strike, it’s when one will strike — and our residents can rest assured that their city is better prepared to respond immediately to any situation or emergency.”

This article appears in the October 2009 issue of Western City
Did you like what you read here? Subscribe to Western City