The results of a study recently announced by AT&T* indicate that local businesses are proactively preparing for unforeseen natural or manmade disasters to help protect their operations and maintain communications in times of disruption. 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 – in King of Prussia, Penn. on October 19-20.
This week’s NDR exercise in King of Prussia includes an extensive deployment of network recovery equipment. The exercise tests and refines the team’s speed and efficiency in restoring wired and wireline network operations in the event of an actual disaster. Essential to AT&T’s own comprehensive business continuity plan, the King of Prussia NDR exercise features more than 30 disaster recovery trailers and vehicles, including 53-foot technology trailers, emergency communications vehicles and a variety of smaller utility and support trailers, as well as a search-and-rescue dog team demonstration.
AT&T conducts Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) exercises several times a year in order to simulate the loss of network operations due to manmade or natural disasters. These events are designed to test, refine and strengthen AT&T’s business continuity and disaster recovery services in order to minimize network downtime. Following a previous AT&T NDR exercise in Harrisburg in 1997, this exercise marks AT&T’s second demonstration in the state.
“From natural disasters to terrorist attacks and cyber security threats, it’s evident that businesses in the state recognize the need to prepare for unexpected events in order to prevent business disruption when crises occur,” said J. Michael Schweder, president of AT&T Pennsylvania. “We recognize the essential role of communications when disaster strikes, and exercises like this help us be ready to assist local and state emergency responders and keep critical systems running when needed.”
AT&T’s 2010 Business Continuity Study found that many businesses in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are preparing for potential disasters and investing in additional technology. Eighty-one percent of the companies responding in these metro areas have business continuity plans and two-thirds (66%) of executives indicate that their companies are investing in new technologies in 2010.
Some additional local results from the study include:
- A vast majority (81%) indicates that they have special arrangements for communicating with key executives in the event of a disaster, with 85% having e-mail or text messaging capabilities to reach employees outside of work.
- Three-fourths (77%) of businesses have systems in place that enable most employees to work from home or remote locations; half (53%) have automated calling systems to reach employees by telephone or cell phone outside of work.
- Almost half (49%) of companies provide employees with access to social networking tools, and 75% of executives are concerned about the increasing use of social networking capabilities and its impact on security threats.
- A similar proportion (78%) is concerned about the increasing use of mobile networks and devices and their impact on security threats.
During the past 15 years, AT&T has invested more than $500 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 350 self-contained equipment trailers and support vehicles that house the same equipment and components as an AT&T data-routing or voice-switching center. In 2008, AT&T announced that its NDR organization had consolidated wireless, wired and backbone network recovery capabilities, enabling AT&T to bring an integrated approach to disaster recovery that helps ensure the flow of both wireless and wired communications during times of need.
More recently, AT&T announced that in conjunction with the North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (NC OSHERC), it has developed an industry-first certification program for telecom hazardous materials specialists. Eleven members of AT&T’s NDR team were the first to receive this certification, which was awarded to them at AT&T’s NDR exercise in New Orleans in March 2010.
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 2010 Business Continuity Study results are based on an online survey of 113 Information Technology (IT) executives in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metropolitan areas. 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 Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were obtained between March 5 and March 12, 2010.