Business continuity plan and Disaster Recovery
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Business continuity plan and Disaster Recovery
Business continuity planning suggests a more comprehensive approach to ensure your business is operating, not only after a natural catastrophe but also in the event of smaller disruptions.
Unlike disaster recovery, business continuity involves keeping all aspects of a business functioning rather than just technology systems. The business continuity plan is a fairly new approach that instructs what steps a company must take to minimize the effects of a service interruption. This will limit the short-term negative impact on the company.
Benefits of business continuity
Minimise the effect of a disruption on an organization;
Reduce the risk of financial loss.
Retain company brand and image and give staff, clients and suppliers confidence in the organization’s services.
Enable the recovery of critical systems within an agreed timeframe.
Meet legal and statutory obligations.
Measure the level of compliance to international Business Continuity standards from the Business Continuity Institute.
Disasters exercises are important especially it involves complex and resource incentive process. This is a process of testing the process of the disaster drills and estimating the time consumed for the restoring the services. In this case, the teams also expect to experience variation in the weather due to the geographies and zone of the disaster in the region whereby they might engage in the recovery exercise in areas with extreme hot climate and other extreme cold. They are trained on the various the level of preparedness of such cases (Rapp, 2011). For instance, the team sent for an exercise in Tampa, Florida, which has a temperature of 35 degrees while in the other one at a salt-lake City in Utah, which had snow of 60cm. These teams also work in other parts of the world, hence they must be trained on what to expect in the new regions they are deployed (Arean, 2013).
The team is also required to work in collaboration with the local emergency agencies as outlined in the NIMS guidelines. For instance, when the teams deployed in special operation exercise (HAZNAT) which conducted in 2014 September in Ohio, the operation involved assimilation with more than twenty-five state, regional and local emergency response agencies, whereby the AT&T worked as the private partner agency. Disaster sites without gathering the necessary information regarding the areas such as the scale and nature of the disaster (Rapp, 2011). Therefore, it involves in engage in a blind exercise that, are they not entering any disaster area without gathering the appropriate information. They recognize that blind exercises are extremely expensive, especially in the large and extreme countries that require extensive travel requirement.
AT&T – a case study
AT&T is one of the large telecommunication provider in the United States. In the competitive world, AT&T want to provide un-interrupted services to its customers, especially when disasters happens. This can be natural or manmade. To achieve this, AT&T established Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) team in the 1990s. Until now, AT&T invested more than $600 million in NDR program and another $15 million internationally. The AT&T NDR is committed to ensure that their customers are conceding even when encountering various events such as catastrophic events and unpredicted events, whereby it ensures the maintenance of reliability of the global network of AT&T. The mission of this team is to ensure recovery of AT&T voice as well as network elements in the affected area of disasters. AT&T generally invests about 600 million of its finances in the United States and another $15 million in international incidences. They identify that telecommunication is an integral component to businesses and government customers who experience a disaster, whereby it is required by the affected areas as well as the country at large (Buchnan, 2010).
According to Global Disaster Prepared Center (2014), the AT&T’s Natural Disaster Recovery plan has three main goals which include; to route the telecommunication traffics that are not involved in the event around the affected region. To give access affected by disaster, communication access to the other parts of the world. Thirdly, to recover the communication services back to normal condition through repair and restoration as fast as possible after the event of distaste.
AT&T Methods of recovery
The AT&T NDR has four major recovery methods of physical network disaster recovery. These tactics include the static recovery, mobile recovery, hybrid recovery as well as the Vendor Supported Recovery solution. In the mobile recovery solution, custom trailers are designed, constructed and engineered in such a way that they provide and support network element recovery. The solution provides a technology for replacement in the self-sufficient deployable unit (Global Disaster Prepared Center, 2014).
In the static recovery solution, the assets are dedicated in the AT&T network so that they can enable the network disaster recovery. This solution is used for the elements of the network that appropriately scale of the mobile solution.
Hybrid recovery solution consisted of the utilization of existing mobile asses such as the 53-foot trailer, which are equipped with HVAC and power whereby they are constructed to provide support of timely installation of the elements of the network. In this case the equipment required are moved from the areas they exist, such as the AT&T equipment testing laboratory, training facilities, vendor stock or maintenance spares and shipped to the disaster site. This method is an alternative of having to dedicate network elements seem to be installed on the mobile recovery trailer. The strategy is used as the teams constructed a dedicated solution or the requirement of small miscellaneous equipment which are easily shipped (AT&T Natural Disaster Recovery, 2005).
9/11 outage (case)
On an average day in September, the AT&T network handles 300 million calls. The all-time record for calls handled in a single day on the AT&T network was 330 million. On 9/11/2001, the AT&T network handled 431 million call attempts.
AT&T’s Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) Team was activated immediately following the destruction of the World Trade Center towers on the morning of September 11, 2001. The team was deployed to support the recovery of damaged AT&T network facilities and to provide emergency communications for the relief effort in lower Manhattan.
An Emergency Communications Vehicle (ECV) was deployed to NYPD’s backup command center in lower Manhattan. The ECV provided telephone service for administrative use and for use by the families of missing NYPD members. The ECV was in service at NYPD headquarters from Wednesday, September 12, until Friday, September 21.
On September 21, the ECV was moved so it could provide free telephone service for relief workers at the WTC disaster site. Phone lines from the ECV were brought into the Spirit of New York, a dinner cruise ship moored in North Cove Yacht Harbor, adjacent to the World Financial Center. The ship was converted for use as a food and rest station for the rescue workers. The ECV remained in service there until Thursday, October 4.
Over 20,000 calls were placed over the ECV link at the NYPD deployment and over 36,000 calls were placed during the Spirit of New York deployment.
Hurricane Irma outage (Case)
During hurricane Irma (2017), AT&T started their preparedness process and closely monitor and follow the cyclone. When it was about to hit Florida, they started filling the fuel to the generators and recharged their high capacity batteries and tested the facilities. They has mobile vans that carry all the equipment and make them ready. Its national reliability center is monitoring outages for quick action.
It also improved the network redundancy in the estimated impact areas. They sent additional generators at critical cell towers and switching facilities, and moved electronics essential to network operations above expected flood levels. (Prnewswire, 2017)
During this time, their goal is to restore the call and text messaging services, keep the non-emergency calls to minimum and be prepared for high call and data volume. They were able to achieve.
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