The October 26, 2010 computer crash in the Orleans Parish Clerk of Court’s Land Records Office caused the loss of 180,000 digital records and the index relating to those records. The crash brought significant financial loss to the real estate industry, which includes title abstractors, buyers and sellers of real estate, lending institutions, title insurers, and closing notaries. Land transactions came to a halt, and commerce essentially ceased. The cause of the crash is uncertain. In any event, the loss of the records could have been avoided.
I have been asked: Can what happened in Orleans Parish happen in Jefferson? My answer: No. The Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court’s information technology infrastructure includes multiple layers of back-up at multiple safe and secure locations. The technology infrastructure consists of (1) electronic images, protected by differential and full back-ups on multiple servers; (2) magnetic tapes with the same data that are in the electronic format; and (3) microfilm records produced from the electronic images. The key to preventing what happened in New Orleans is redundancy – the kind of protection that I just described. Katrina tested our system. The Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court’s computer system was never down, even during the height of the storm. Generators kicked in when the main power was lost, and anyone who had remote access to the public record could pull it up it via the Internet from any location (anywhere in the world) having electric power. Jefferson Parish’s public record lay outside Katrina’s reach – in cyberspace. In the extremely unlikely event of a computer malfunction, the multiple server back-ups would have kicked in without delay; and the malfunction would not have mattered.
Jon A. Gegenheimer, Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court
December 30, 2010
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