Virginia guards data centers

Virginia's top technologist said his office has implemented safety measures to protect the commonwealth's data facilities and provide support across all agencies in the wake of Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

"Our data centers are secure and our facilities are locked down," Donald Upson, secretary of technology, said Sept. 12. "We're really just providing the support, making sure that, god forbid, anything did happen."

Upson, who was in Northern Virginia for a meeting when the attacks occurred, drove immediately back to Richmond, where Gov. Jim Gilmore declared a state of emergency. His office is providing support to Gilmore's office and all state agencies, he said, adding that he's "very proud" of the level of cooperation among the agencies. He said there were no problems with the state's technology infrastructure.

The state's Web site (www.vipnet.org), he said, was immediately updated to provide notifications, including:

* The governor's news releases about the statewide emergency.

* Links to state and federal agencies helping with the disaster relief.

* Information about helping with disaster relief, including donating money and blood, and volunteering.

* A link to New York City's site.

"The Internet proved its value in an emergency situation," said Upson, whose office supervises the site. "It was slower, sure, but it worked. It was an incredible source of information for people."

New York City's home page (www.nyc.gov) has been entirely devoted to the crisis there following the destruction of the World Trade Center. The site offers links and information concerning schools, transportation, donations, volunteer help, city government employee payroll, shelters and grief counseling, and finding loved ones. It also has a link to a map of Manhattan outlining areas where no water, electricity or telephone services are available.

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