On behalf of the Edge team, I am writing to provide an update on our preparations as concerns about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continue to escalate. Edge continues to closely track and monitor related events globally and in the region. We are monitoring the latest news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New Jersey Department of Health (DOH), and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as engaging with our peer Research and Education Network organizations and with Internet2 to share best practices. Edge is fully prepared to maintain connectivity and ensure the smooth operation of our network operations in the face of a disruptive event such as we are now experiencing.
As standard procedure, our operations strategy already allows for Edge personnel to support our core network remotely. 24/7/365 monitoring of the network will continue in partnership with our managed services provider Highpoint, who have assured Edge of plans in place to ensure business continuity moving forward. To ensure network operations center (NOC) continuity, Highpoint NOC personnel are equipped to work remotely in case they are called upon to do so. Highpoint’s operating infrastructure has been designed to enable all of their employees to perform their respective duties from home and/or other remote locations. We are likewise coordinating with the rest of our suppliers, facilities owners, and vendors to proactively ensure we have options for on-premise access to locations when needed and/or the option of “smart hands” support from our facilities partners.
In the case of any network emergency, the EdgeNet team should be contacted using the same escalation procedures and protocol that you would typically use. Complete contact information and the escalation procedures can be found on the support page of our website.
Should the situation warrant, Edge has plans in place for the rest of the Edge team to work remotely and maintain effective service and operations while minimizing risk to the health and safety of staff and our member community. Additionally, for in-person EdgeEvents scheduled through the month of May (including the CxO Exchange, the Teaching with Technology Showcase, and the Emerging Themes Summit), we’re actively monitoring recommendations from public health officials to evaluate and will notify attendees of any change in plans.
As you prepare your own organizations and campuses for contingencies and to face the evolving COVID-19 situation, Edge is prepared to help in any way we can. This includes assisting any efforts to plan for increased online learning and remote work activities through additional usage of your available bandwidth capacity and/or temporarily offering additional bandwidth capacity to meet anticipated requirements and support your contingency planning. Edge team members (with 120+ years of higher education executive/IT experience on staff) stand ready to assist with the formulation of response plans or review existing plans for our members to implement more online activities.
We also encourage our members to leverage Edge expertise and partnerships in planning any moves to more robust online learning and remote work. Solutions such as Zoom video communications, cloud-based Unified Communications as a Service via CBTS, and cloud-based virtual desktops delivered via AWS or VMware can all enable effective collaboration and information delivery to end-users. In the case of an increase in calls to your IT help-desk or student services resources because of remote access challenges, we also offer options to virtually augment your team to better serve students, faculty, and staff.
If you have any questions or concerns about Edge’s business continuity plans, or ways in which Edge can support your organization in the event of an extended crisis, please contact us. In the meantime, the safety and well-being of our staff, members, and extended community is of top priority. We extend our best wishes and full support to our member institutions and their communities to stay healthy and safe.
Dr. Samuel Conn
President & CEO