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Enterprise Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity: Lessons Learned from the Major Storms of 2012

CCMI Special Reports
Justin Castillo & Jeffrey Sheldon

Landstrike is a fictional disaster novel about a hurricane that hits the New York City area. called it “the gripping story of Hurricane Nicole’s … catastrophic rampage up New York City’s Hudson River. It is also an enthralling account of the horrific storm’s aftermath as residents, suddenly isolated from the world without electricity, food, water, and even communications, try to survive in Stone Age conditions!” (emphasis added)

With Superstorm Sandy fresh in our memory, the statement that the fictional hurricane was so bad that “even communications” were lost, seems quaintly naïve. But it captures the depth of a long-standing faith in the reliability of the PSTN.

Events of last year shattered that faith. The surprise “derecho” storm that hit the Washington, D.C. area cut off access to 9-1-1 for two million people. Four months later, Sandy flooded central offices, crippled cell service and cut power for so long that back-up generators were running out of fuel. The devastating storms of 2012 are the most recent events to spur enterprises to scrutinize their business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) plans.

This article details the emerging lessons of Sandy and the derecho outlined in the FCC’s recent report, Impact of the June 2012 Derecho on Communications Networks and Services. While the report focuses on service providers, its lessons are equally important to enterprises, including critical infrastructure industries.


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