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August 2007 | Volume 10 / Nuber 8
Disaster Preparedness

Continuity Planning 101: A Continuing Educational Series

This year the world’s ultimate IP Communications Conference, ITEXPO West 2007, returns to Los Angeles from September 10 through September 12, 2007. It also marks the anniversary of the Disaster Planning Communications Forum (DPCF). At ITEXPO West 2005, the first DPCF Press Conference was held followed by a meeting the next day of the companies that would later comprise the founding members. The DPCF initiative was formally announced in the January, 2006 Enterprise View column ( and the first column in the Continuity Planning 101 series appeared in March, 2006 ( ).

The formation of the DPCF resulted from a conversation between Rich Tehrani and Max Schroeder relating to the then recent hurricane disasters on the United States Gulf Coast and the well-documented communications failures in New York City on September 11, 2001. The basic concept was that IP telephony industry professionals could contribute in helping enterprises to avoid or minimize problems in future disasters. TMC and the Enterprise Communications Association (ECA, committed to combining their efforts to launch the DPCF and contribute to its ongoing management. During the ensuing years, the DPCF evolved into a much larger group of vendors and resellers dedicated to educating enterprises on the need and value of business continuity planning.

The goal of the DPCF is not to displace any other organizations. The disaster planning industry is very mature. There are industry organizations and companies that will advise you on how to procure food that can be stored for months or years. You can also hire the services of entire mobile recovery teams and equipment including workspace trailers, mobile offices and inventory storage. However, in 2005 there was a gap as most of the focus was on traditional disaster planning and recovery, not business continuity using the latest IP technology. The gap has narrowed but there is still work to be done.

Even today many SMBs are not prepared. Most enterprises, of any size, do not fully understand the impact that IP telephony has had on business continuity planning and implementation. IP telephony has made business continuity planning both easily available and affordable. In fact, implementing converged IP can have the dual reward of lowering the costs of daily operations plus providing continuity. Plus, many companies are easily halfway there. For example, due to the tremendous advantages presented by Internet Telephony solutions and broadband access, your company may already have a substantial number of employees working from home offices. In effect, these employees are members of the “business continuity team” and may even be deployed over a wide geographic area.

However, there still remains a major “gap in thinking”. This provides resellers looking to enter this market with a large base of prospective clients. There are many reasons for an enterprise to bring in a reseller or consultant to assist with continuity planning but the primary reason is that it is like a first impression — you only have one chance to succeed. Business continuity planning is not like many other business activities that are repeatable and sharpen a company’s skill set. Bringing in a continuity planning specialist avoids the “first time” issue.

This year’s 2-hour workshop will host a selection of experienced panelists who will address how an enterprise can and must plan to avoid a serious interruption of business operations. Panelists will include application vendors, resellers, and managed service providers from the DPCF participating companies. Audience participation is strongly encouraged, so come prepared with questions for the panelists. This is also a must for resellers looking to enter this market.

Since the inception of the DPCF many companies have signed on to participate. There are no fees and no long term commitment. All that is required is a willingness to participate whenever possible. Some companies that have signed on in the past include:

If your organization has an interest in participating in the TMC/ECA Disaster Preparedness Communications Forum, please contact or IT

Max Schroeder is a board member of the ECA, media relations committee chairman, and liaison to TMC. He is also the Senior Vice President of FaxCore, Inc.

Rich Tehrani is the President and Group Editor-in-Chief at TMC and is Conference Chairman of Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO.

If you are interested in purchasing reprints of this article (in either print or PDF format), please visit Reprint Management Services online at or contact a representative via email at or by phone at 800-290-5460.

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