The Day the Help Desk Disappeared

April 18, 2019

On Monday, April 1, the ITS Help Desk performed a disaster recovery effort to test their disaster recovery strategy in the case of a campus emergency at 25 Science Park. Planning included finding a location with network access and enough space for the entire team; a training room was secured at 221 Whitney Avenue. Help Desk staff reported to the this room on Monday morning equipped with laptops and headsets. Within 30 minutes, the team was operational - taking calls and chats, answering emails, and closing tickets as if it were a typical day. Team cooperation and cloud tools contributed to the success of the event.

We identified several ‘lessons learned’ through this exercise. These include the need to identify multiple potential locations to accommodate the group with extra space needed to negate overlapping conversations, for hotline call forwarding to alternate phones, and for backup headsets. Another finding is to have tools and resources available in one single location.

The timing of this test could not have been more perfect as it gave us the opportunity to implement an April Fool’s joke on Luis Ribeiro, the Help Desk Director. Luis was intentionally kept unaware that this event was happening. When he arrived at 25 Science Park on Monday morning, not a staff member was present - only his boss, Sandra Germenis. As an accomplice to the joke, Sandra inquired, “Where is your team?” multiple times over a six-minute period, assuring Luis was fooled! The team did a great job keeping this a secret and executed the plan with precision. Thanks to all for participating, to Sandra for letting us have some fun with a necessary exercise, and to Luis for being a good sport!