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What is the E-Plan system security overview?

E-Plan, a highly-secure web-based hazardous material (hazmat) information delivery system, provides first responders and others (i.e. federal, state and local emergency managers) rapid access to the data they need during hazmat incidents or terrorist attacks.  Since the E-Plan System stores and dispenses sensitive information concerning hazardous materials, providing security for the data is an absolute requirement. All authorized E-Plan users involved with E-Plan are carefully screened and their E-Plan user accounts are approved and permitted by the appropriate E-Plan authorizing authorities.  E-Plan System physical security is fully enforced via strict key control and housing the web servers in secure rooms within UT Dallas. The E-Plan System’s main servers are housed in a highly secured, access restricted server room with emergency generator backup power supply. The servers are located at two locations, one primary site and one secondary site to achieve disaster tolerance. The E-Plan System is configured for redundancy by taking a mirror snapshot of the production systems from the primary location and copying them over to the secondary systems at regular intervals. Due to the confidential nature of the data being mirrored, all network traffic is encrypted via virtual private network (VPN) connections between the sites using firewalls. The network between the remote sites (primary and secondary) is a private network thus minimizing the possibility of a hack. Fault Tolerance System Fault tolerance of the E-Plan System is achieved in two ways. 1.    Each server consists of fault tolerant components, which include dual power supplies, RAID 5 configuration hard drives (i.e., if one hard drive fails, the other two hard drives continue the server in operable state) and hot swappable components. The power supplies to the server are fed from redundant UPS for power fault tolerance. 2.    For every production server, there is an identical copy of the server in the same room. In case of a full production server failure, the fault tolerant system can be brought online within 5 minutes of primary server failure. Disaster Tolerance System To achieve disaster tolerance, an identical copy of the primary site server on the UT Dallas campus exists at an off-campus location (secondary system). The two sites are connected over network for synchronizing data and configuration. The secondary system maintains an identical data copy of the primary system, which is updated on a daily basis to make it consistent with the primary system. In case of a disaster where the primary server resources are inoperable or unreachable, the secondary site will provide the functions of the primary site. Confidentiality and Integrity Extreme care is taken to ensure data confidentiality by strictly enforcing usage rules. Data integrity is ensured via several levels of checking mechanisms. Data integrity and confidentiality will be maintained throughout the life of the system. Availability and Reliability Historically, the E-Plan System has operated 24/7/365 with over 99.99% availability since beginning operation (December 2000). The system is designed to continually operate at 99.99% uptime or greater. System Monitoring System Monitoring programs automatically monitor the health of the E-Plan System, sending text messaging (i.e. SMS) and email notification to system administrators if the system is not operating effectively including national system accessibility for need to know emergency response users.

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