Arkansas and Oklahoma are sharing data centers for improved disaster recovery

For the past year, Arkansas and Oklahoma have been engaged in a unique partnership. The two states are sharing their data centers for a symbiotic boost of their disaster recovery capabilities.

In a video interview with StateScoop, the chief information officers of the two states say the partnership, which began merely as an idea put forward during a conference held by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers last year, has proved a fruitful one.

“In our region of the United States, natural disasters are certainly something we have to be prepared [for],” Reese says.

Reese says the number of natural disasters that threaten to disrupt the state’s critical IT systems has grown in recent years as the region now contends with tornados, ice storms, wildfires and earthquakes.

Ultimately, the partnership was viewed as a financial decision, Reese says.

“In Oklahoma we always talked about, ‘How do we cover our disaster recovery needs better within our financial constraints?’” he says.

As for getting support from their governor’s offices, both Reese and Arkansas CIO Yessica Jones says it was a relatively smooth process after the proposition was put forth.

“I think it started with our legal departments, really,” Jones says. “They took off and did the legal component and then our technical teams, they did virtual tours.”

The CIOs say they’ve been enjoying the benefits of improved disaster recovery at minimal cost ever since.

Reese and Jones on getting executive buy-in:

Jones on her top priorities and projects:

Reese on his top priorities and projects:

These videos were produced by StateScoop at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee, in October 2019.