Continuity Planning 101 - A Continuing Educational Series : Eating Your Own Dog Food

Disaster Preparedness

Continuity Planning 101 - A Continuing Educational Series : Eating Your Own Dog Food

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

In late August, Hurricane Irene continued its trail of destruction by moving into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States. Irene’s path went directly through the New York metropolitan area with devastating consequences. 

Although the Northeast is not unfamiliar with hurricanes, they are very infrequent. This was the first hurricane to officially make landfall in New Jersey since 1903 and one of the worst storms ever to hit the state. With New Jersey already experiencing the wettest August on record, the heavy rainfall wreaked havoc.

In Connecticut the winds were the major issue. As the storm passed, almost 50 percent of the state’s electric customers were without power. Some of those customers, including many TMC (News - Alert) employees, did not get service restored until a week or more afterward.

Then Tropical Storm Lee decided to pay a visit and poured torrents of water on top of the already soaked ground, raising water levels in lakes and streams even higher. In fact, for some members of the TMC team including one of the column’s authors, Max Schroeder (News - Alert), Lee created more problems than Irene.

If you visited the TMC website during this time or called to speak to a TMC editor or account manager, you would not have noticed anything unusual. The site was fully operational. Employees were working from their corporate offices, home offices or back-up locations. Voice, e-mail, fax, online publications, TMC Channels, ITEXPO (News - Alert) West registrations and all other TMC operations appeared normal. How could this be?

Simply put, TMC was “eating business continuity and disaster recovery dog food” that was already sitting on the shelf ready for emergency use. In other words, the same VoIP and other technologies we use every day were already in place. This column has always stressed the dual aspects of 21st Century communications technologies. These technologies make daily operations more efficient and productive but also provide built-in DR functionality. Do you have DR dog food on your shelf?     

(Wikipedia credits the phrase eating your own dog food to past senior Microsoft (News - Alert) executive and current VMware CEO Paul Maritz as the title of a 1988 e-mail recommending more internal use of Microsoft products.)

Max Schroeder is senior vice president of FaxCore Inc. ( and managing director of the DPCF. 

Rich Tehrani (News - Alert) is CEO and group editor-in-chief at TMC, and conference chairman of ITEXPO. >

TMCnet publishes expert commentary on various telecommunications, IT, call center, CRM and other technology-related topics. Are you an expert in one of these fields, and interested in having your perspective published on a site that gets several million unique visitors each month? Get in touch.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi