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Downtime Policy

 

Policy No.: ETP-A - 08-2                                                                                                                                                                              Effective: 2nd Oct 2011


DEFINITIONS

KSAU-HS            King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences

UNIVERSITY       King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences

EDUTECH            CorporateOffice of Educational Technology Services

IT                       Information Technology

PURPOSE

EDUTECH is committed to ensuring reliable information technology services. The goal of this policy is to explain those circumstances during which downtime may occur, anticipated durations of downtime events, and procedures for notifying affected users.

SCOPE

This policy applies to EDUTECH staff in their various capacities.

REFERENCE

  • Policy ETP-08-1 Business Continuity Planning Policy
  • Policy ETP-07-1 Business Impact Analysis Policy
  • Systems Change Request Form
  • Announcement Request Form
  • Justification Form

BACKGROUND

EDUTECH is committed to ensuring reliable information technology services for all KSAU-HS campuses. In order to meet this objective, EDUTECH systems may need to be taken   offline   to maintain   or improve   system   performance, safeguard data, or to respond to emergency situations.

POLICY

  • Planned Downtime:  From time to time, it will be necessary to make systems unavailable for the purpose of performing upgrades, maintenance, or housekeeping tasks. The goal of these tasks to is to ensure maximum system performance and prevent future system   failures. The following activities fall within the definition of Planned Downtime:
  • Application   of   patches   to   operating   systems   and   other applications in order to fix vulnerabilities and bugs, add functionality, or improve performance.
  • Monitoring and checking of system logs.
  • Security monitoring and auditing.
  • Disk defragmentation, disk cleanup and other general disk maintenance operations.
  • Required   upgrades   to   system   physical   memory   or   storage capacity.
  • Installation or upgrade of applications or services.
  • System performance tuning.
  • Regular backup of system data for the purpose of disaster recovery.
  • In the event that any of these activities will require downtime to perform, every effort will be made to perform the procedure during off-hours in order to minimize the impact on those who use the affected systems or services. The following time periods will be used to carry out Planned Downtime activities:

          Before 7:30 AM

          After    5:00 PM

         Thursday, Friday or during official University holidays

  • On occasion, it may be necessary to have Planned Downtime during regular business hours, namely if outside personnel are required to perform more elaborate procedures.  If this is the case, then this Planned Downtime will be communicated to identified users of affected resources using the Notification of Downtime mechanism described below.
  • Emergency Downtime:  Unexpected circumstances may arise where systems or services will be interrupted without prior notice. Every effort will be made to avoid such circumstances. However, incidences may arise involving a compromise of system security, a potential risk for damage to equipment or data, or emergency repairs.  If the affected system(s) cannot be brought back online within 30 minutes, affected users will be contacted via the Notification of Downtime mechanism described below.
  • Notification of Downtime:  Users will be notified of downtime according to the following procedure:
  • The  system administrator (primary application specialist or primary system administrator) for the system in question is responsible for notifying all  identified users of a Planned Downtime, as well as any unplanned interruptions to system availability as they occur. The associated forms with the Downtime procedure must be filled, and then signed by the immediate supervisor.
  • Once the required System Change and Announcement Request Forms are processed, the system administrator will notify EDUTECH Help Desk Supervisor via email.
  • The system administrator will first notify all affected users via email and will post the maintenance window on EDUTECH Web portal. All users are responsible for checking their email for downtime and system status notifications. In the event that email is unavailable due to an Emergency Downtime, the system administrator will contact department heads by telephone to inform them of the situation.
  • If general maintenance procedures will cause Planned Downtime during  regular  business  hours,  and the procedure  will last less than  15  minutes,  the system  administrator  must  notify system users 24 hours prior to the Planned Downtime.
  • If the Planned Downtime is beyond the general maintenance schedule and   will last longer than 15 minutes then the system administrator must give two business days notice prior to the anticipated system   unavailability.   This   step   must   be   taken regardless of whether the downtime is scheduled to take place during off hours or regular business hours.
  • In the event of Emergency Downtime, the system administrator will use his/her discretion in notifying end users of the situation. In emergency circumstances where time is of the essence, it may not be possible for the system administrator to engage in normal downtime notification activities. When emergency measures are completed, or if 60 minutes has elapsed with no resolution, then the system administrator will contact all users with information on system status and/or information on additional expected downtime.
  • All affected services access pages must redirect the users to the downtime notification page that lists the unavailable services, and their recovery time.
  • All downtime announcements will provide the following information:
  1. Systems and services that are affected, as well as suggested alternatives to them (if any).
  2. Start and end times of the Planned Downtime period, or estimated time for recovery in the event of an Emergency Downtime.
  3. The reasons why the downtime is taking place.
  4. Any ongoing problems that are anticipated as a result of the downtime event.
  • Requests for Availability: If any user foresees a critical need for a system during a period of Planned Downtime, then they should contact the EduTech department in advance to make an appeal using the Justification Form. Utmost effort will be made to reschedule the downtime or make alternative arrangements for required resources.
  • Enforcement: Wherever possible, utmost efforts will be used to reduce downtime and mitigate business availability risks.  Any employee who is found to have violated this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Approved By:

Director Corporate, Educational Technology Service
King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences

 

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