The results of a study announced today by AT&T* indicate that local businesses are taking proactive measures to protect their operations and maintain communications during manmade and natural disasters like the recent ice storms. Also recognizing the importance of crisis preparation, AT&T is working with local officials and business leaders to conduct a full-scale disaster recovery simulation – a Network Disaster Recovery exercise – adjacent to the InterContinental Dallas hotel in Addison from March 10-16, 2011.
“Communications are a top priority when disaster strikes and puts lives, property and business assets at risk. It’s essential for local businesses to prepare for unexpected events in order to minimize business disruption when crises occur,” said David Nichols, president of AT&T Texas. “AT&T brings the business continuity and disaster recovery expertise we’ve developed from running and managing some of the world’s largest and most complex networks — including our own — to businesses worldwide.”
This week’s NDR exercise includes an extensive deployment of network recovery equipment. The exercise tests and refines the team’s speed and efficiency in restoring wired and wireless network operations in the event of an actual disaster. Critical to AT&T’s own comprehensive business continuity plan, the Dallas NDR exercise features 25 semi-trailers, three hazmat trailers, an emergency communications vehicle (ECV), a satellite cell on a light truck (COLT), and a variety of smaller utility and support trailers.
The Dallas NDR exercise, which brings together the equipment and team members necessary for restoring network communications in the event of an actual disaster, is AT&T’s 60th full technical recovery exercise conducted in the field. This is the team’s fourth exercise in Dallas and sixth in Texas. The last Dallas exercise was held in February 2006. The team was deployed to Galveston Island following Hurricane Ike’s landfall in September 2008.
AT&T’s 2011 Business Continuity Study found that many businesses in Dallas/Fort Worth are preparing for potential disasters and investing in additional technology. According to the study, the percentage of Dallas/Fort Worth companies that have business continuity plans rose from 79 percent in 2006, to 84 percent today. A majority (60%) of these companies have had their business continuity plans fully tested in the past 12 months. Business continuity planning is seen as a “priority” by almost three-fourths (73%) of IT executives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, up from 68 percent in 2006. Two-thirds (65%) of the companies surveyed indicate their companies implement specific protective actions when the federal or state government issues an alert for an impending disaster.
The study finds that wireless is a large part of business continuity planning efforts, with seven out of 10 companies (70%) including wireless network capabilities as part of their business continuity plans. Almost all (88%) indicate that employees are allowed to access work e-mails on their personal smartphones. The vast majority (83%) is concerned about the increasing use of mobile networks and devices and its impact on security threats.
The study also found that IT budgets for 2011 are about the same or higher than those of the previous two years, and 81 percent of executives indicate that their companies are investing in new technologies in 2011. Four out of ten (40%) indicated cloud computing would be one of the investments, and almost 38 percent already use or are considering using cloud services to augment their business continuity/disaster recovery strategy.
Some additional results from the study include:
- Most executives (85%) indicate that they have special arrangements for communicating with key executives in the event of a natural disaster, with 89% having e-mail or text messaging capabilities to reach employees outside of work.
- Eight out of 10 (84%) have systems in place that enable most employees to work from home or remote locations; a majority (51%) has automated calling systems to reach employees by telephone or cell phone outside of work.
- A majority (58%) of these companies provide employees with access to social networking tools, and most executives (80%) are concerned about the increasing use of social networking capabilities and its impact on security threats.
AT&T has invested more than $600 million in its NDR program, which includes specially trained managers, engineers and technicians from across the United States, as well as a fleet of more than 320 self-contained equipment trailers and support vehicles that house the same equipment and components as an AT&T data-routing or voice-switching center.
More information on AT&T’s NDR program is available at AT&T Network Disaster Recovery.
For more information on Business Continuity Services that AT&T provides, go to Business Continuity for Enterprise.
The AT&T 2011 Business Continuity Study results are based on an online survey of 100 Information Technology (IT) executives in the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area. The study was conducted by e-Rewards Market Research with companies having total revenues of more than $25 million (except for state/local government participants). Surveys in the Dallas/Fort Worth area were obtained between February 24 and March 1, 2011.