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December 2006, Volume 9/ Number 12
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A Summary of the Disaster Preparedness and Business Continuity Workshop at IT Conference & EXPO West 2006

By Rich Tehrani & Max Schroeder


The Disaster Planning & Business Continuity Workshop was held in the Pavilion area of the main exhibit floor, Thursday, October 12, and covered a wide variety of subject matter. Many different view points, but the same conclusion � enterprises need to have a business continuity plan in place.

Richard Grigonis, the Executive Editor of TMC�s IP Communications Group and the author of the book, Disaster Survival Guide to Business Communications Networks, opened the session with a brief history of fault tolerant computing beginning with Step One � recognizing the need for reliable computing power. Richard moved on to cover fault resilient hardware architectures and faultless software designs setting the stage for the entire session.

The next, speaker Gordon Payne, VP of Marketing for Citrix�s Advanced Solutions Group, provided a brief overview of recent disasters. One key statistic he garnered from Gartner (News - Alert) EXP showed that although 70% of enterprises were prepared for a data center outage, only 13% were prepared to handle a workflow disruption. Gordon went on to review the real-life experience of Citrix customer Lehman Brothers on September 11th. Although nearly 6,000 employees were displaced to more than 20 different locations in New York and New Jersey, the Citrix Presentation Server enabled every application to be deployed through a standard Web browser and Lehman Brothers continued its operations.

Wendell Black, VP Sales, Oracle (News - Alert), provided us with a clear definition of business continuity: �The discipline of managing an enterprise under adverse conditions � this is done by implementing resilience strategies, recovery objectives, and crisis management plans as a key component of an integrated risk management initiative.� (Source: The Business Continuity Institute.) Wendell went on to cover the �how to� of deploying contact centers so as to maintain business continuity and also provided numerous links to sites dealing disaster planning.

Greg Gies, Marketing Director of Cantata, reviewed the importance of fax in planning for business continuity. Specifically, Greg examined how IP fax and converged communications provide for added integration and location independence when architecting your company�s communication network.

One Touch Global Technologies President Scott Riley provided the reseller perspective for the session and focused on building an awareness of the importance of fax server deployment considerations in a company�s PBX (News - Alert) implementation strategies. Scott also provided some interesting statistics to demonstrate that �Fax is Alive and Well� including the following:

    • More faxing today than 5 years ago.

    • ~200 million standalone fax machines

    • One Touch corporate fax business: Up ~ 30% this year

Todd Landry, Sphere Communications (News - Alert)� Senior Vice President, reviewed how an enterprise should evaluate its readiness level and provided examples of 1-hour, 1-day or a 2-day failover type of deployment. Todd emphasized that in a business disruption situation the system should do most of the work regardless of whether the disruption was caused by a complete facility failure, PBX connectivity, PBS Server failure, or other type of disruption. Sphere also introduced the audience to one of its strategic partners, PacStar. Jake Schmidt, Director of Business Development, gave us all a tour of a yellow Humvee they had on the show floor outfitted with a satellite dish. The vehicle housed a PacStar 5500, which is an integrated communications appliance that delivers all the capabilities of a modern office network to any location on the planet � a perfect communications solution for the ultimate disaster.

Jeffrey Stern, VP of Business Development, KoolSpan Inc., focused on assessing resiliency with specific attention to data (replicated), hardware (redundant), Internet/WAN (connections/speed), LAN/Ethernet (replicable), and security, which is their key specialty. He emphasized that by implementing a private network with the proper security products an enterprise will save time, money and personnel bandwidth yet increase security and business resiliency.

C. Don Gant, VP of Channel Marketing and Business Development, Iwatsu Voice Networks, opened with a simple but important fact from AMR Research showing that only 32% of businesses have a disaster preparedness plan in place. He followed with results of a Harris Interactive (News - Alert) survey in 2004 which stated that 54% of executives from Fortune 1000 companies admitted to having a technology disruption because they weren�t adequately prepared. The most startling fact, however, came from KPMG Risk Advisory Services and Continuity Insights Magazine. They conducted a 2005 survey revealing that 43% of businesses damaged in a disaster close for good.

If you would like to drill down further, full copies of all of the presentations can be found at:

The ECA and TMC will also be hosting several sessions and events to coincide with INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO East, at the Broward County Convention Center from January 24-26, 2007 (

First, there will a special Keynote panel: VoIP Options: Disaster Preparedness � Are You Ready? It will take place Wednesday January 24, 2007, from 3:45 to 4:30 P.M.

Hurricanes. Tornados. Earthquakes. Volcanoes. Our first thoughts turn to the safety of loved ones; however, once the dust settles, our thoughts turn immediately back to getting our businesses back on their feet and back to the business of making money.

Snowstorms. Vandalization. An errant backhoe. A fire in a neighboring business. On the surface, these occurrences don�t sound so tragic, but experience has shown us that business disruptions caused by these seemingly benign events can be far, far more problematic when it comes to getting a business back up and running.

This special panel discussion will focus in on what you as an owner or operations manager of an enterprise need to know in order to prepare for the inevitable service disruption due to forces beyond your control, and what you need to do to keep your lights on, keep your phones operational, and keep your business connected. Our experts will share their perspectives and discuss best practices, and most importantly, they will be prepared to answer questions from the audience, helping you learn what you need to know to effectively prepare for the day disaster strikes.

The moderator for this panel will be Greg Galitzine, the Editorial Director of TMC�s IP Communications Group which includes, Internet Telephony Magazine, SIP Magazine and IMS Magazine.

Also, on Thursday, January 25th, from 1:30 to 4:15 p.m. the ECA/TMC team will host a full workshop � Disaster Preparedness and Business Continuity for the Enterprise.

Whether your company already has a plan in place; is in the process of developing a plan; or is simply in the research stage, you need to join us in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to learn more about how to protect your business. IT

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

Max Schroeder is a board member of the Enterprise Communications (News - Alert) Association (ECA) and chairman of its Media Relations Committee.

If your organization has an interest in participating in the TMC/ECA Disaster Preparedness Communications Forum, please contact [email protected] or [email protected].

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 e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 800-290-5460.


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