Emergency Preparedness

The Information Technology Hurricane Preparedness Guide was created to help you prepare accordingly in the event of a hurricane. Please carefully read the recommendations provided and take the necessary steps to help ensure that you are prepared to continue operations during and after a disaster.

This guide outlines the steps that IT takes for Disaster Recovery. IT refers to Disaster Recovery as the process and procedures that are related to preparing for recovery or continuation of technology infrastructure only. Departments are responsible for their own business continuity plans should the campus applications and/or systems be down.

Table of Contents

Update Your Cougar Alert Emergency Contact Information

The College will communicate important updates and information with you via the Cougar Alert system. Prior to the storm, review your contact information for Cougar Alert emergency notifications in MyCharleston and update if needed. You may also choose to download the Everbridge app on your phone (App Store or Google Play) as an additional contact method.

Update Your Emergency Evacuation Plan Information

Prior to the storm, be sure that your Emergency Evacuation Plan information is up to date in MyCharleston. The College's emergency management team will use this information to assist you.

  1. Login to MyCharleston at my.cofc.edu
  2. Go to the Academic Services tab
  3. Go to the Banner Self Service section
  4. Click on the student link and once all the options open up, click on the link to the Emergency Evacuation Plan.

Create Backups of Your Files (Students)

Back up College-related files to OneDrive (faculty/staff/students) or Google Drive (students). Files stored in OneDrive will always be available, but access to files saved to your computer may be interrupted if your device is damaged or inaccessible during and/or after a hurricane. IT encourages you to always save College-related data to OneDrive (faculty/staff/students) or Google Drive (students) whether or not a storm is approaching. You never know when you might have computer issues. 

Create Backups of College-related Data/Files (Faculty/Staff)

All of your College data should be saved to Office 365 OneDrive.

OneDrive is for official College business only. Please do not upload your iTunes library, personal pictures, etc. to OneDrive. Also, do not save your entire local drive to OneDrive - only College-related data please. It is up to you to ensure you are abiding by College standards when using the service. Check policy guidelines before moving Protected Information to OneDrive. Refer to the College’s Privacy Policy and Procedure on the Security of Protected Information at http://policy.cofc.edu/documents/11.1.pdf.


  • If you only save data to your local drive (ex. C:drive) and your computer is damaged, the files on the computer may NOT be accessible. IT encourages you to always save college-related data to OneDrive whether or not a storm is approaching. OneDrive is a file hosting service offered on Office 365 that allows users to sync files and access them from any web browser or mobile device. The storage limit for OneDrive is 1TB.
  • Plan accordingly for any files that you may need to access and edit during and after a storm.


  • To access OneDrive, visit https://portal.office.com and login with your College credentials. Choose OneDrive from the menu.

image of Office 365 waffle menu

In OneDrive, click the Upload menu and select the files or folders you want to upload. You can also drag and drop files from your computer into OneDrive.

image of ONeDrive upload menu

Applications Available in the Event of a Major Power Outage that Impacts our Data Center

There are applications that are hosted off campus and, in the event of a storm, will likely remain available/accessible from the web and the product’s homepage. These include:

  • OAKS (Desire2Learn)
  • Microsoft Office 365 (Faculty/Staff email, OneDrive, Yammer)
  • Google Apps (Drive, student email, etc.)
  • PollEverywhere
  • VoiceThread
  • StarRez (Staff Only)
  • Touchnet (allows authorized users to make payments)
  • Blogs (view Only)
  • CofC Websites (View Only)
  • Google Meet Synchronous Meeting Platform

Please note:

  • If you have a question about the availability of a specific application, contact the IT Service Desk.
  • If you need access to the specific files during or immediately after a hurricane, be sure to save the files that you will need to a OneDrive (Faculty/Staff/Students) or Google Drive (Students). Always plan ahead.

Keep Your Computer Equipment Safe

If a hurricane becomes a threat to the campus, you should take the necessary steps outlined below to protect your computer equipment and hardware located in your office at that time. IT will protect the computer equipment and hardware located in the classrooms, labs, and server rooms that are at-risk only. If you’d like to know more about IT’s process for classrooms and labs, please contact the IT Service Desk.

You are responsible for ensuring that your office computer equipment and hardware are protected. IT will be focusing on protecting the computer equipment and hardware located in the at-risk classrooms and labs.

IT will send out an official message alerting you to proceed with the following computer preparations at that time:

  • Take laptops/tablets home with you along with important files and paperwork needed. Remember to review the privacy policy listed above. You are responsible for the data on your computer.
  • Unplug your desktop computer and equipment (printers, scanners, etc.) from the electrical outlets as well as the data jacks. (Make a note of which data jack you removed the cable from because not all of them are activated.)
  • Move any computer equipment and any hardware away from windows and areas which are prone to possible flooding or leaks.
  • Cover your computer and other equipment with a trash bag. Do you have trash bags on hand? If not, purchase them from Central Stores now.

Other Helpful Tips

  • If you hold physical installation media to non-enterprise software, consider making a copy of it, if you are licensed to do so.  IT does not keep copies of software purchased by individuals or departments.

  • After the storm and the power is back on, wait until there are no blackouts or surges before plugging your equipment back in. Be sure that critical equipment has a Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) attached.

  • Do NOT use web server space to backup your data.

  • Talk to your students and/or staff about the procedures on how to contact them in case of an emergency. Be sure to store your emergency contacts in a safe place and make sure that you can access it from off campus. Remember that CofC email and phone may be down.

  • Review readiness guidelines for personal safety at ready.gov/hurricanes.

  • If you teach, ask your students to read the Student Hurricane Preparedness Guide.