In our last post, we covered how to create a business continuity strategy. For the next installment in our series, we asked our resident business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) expert, Mike Cybyske, about some specific examples of when BC/DR plans were put into action and what key learnings came out of those experiences. Mike is a crisis manager at Qwest and is responsible for overseeing our corporate Crisis Management Team.
Can you tell us about a time when the BC/DR plan was put into action and what the result was?
Hurricane Ike caused an estimated $38 billion in damages and a power outage that affected more than 2 million people in three states. Fortunately, our network equipment was not damaged by the hurricane and we had built layers of redundancy to mitigate power outages impacting our equipment. We were able to leverage generator-based power to keep our network equipment operational during the hurricane.
The real challenge to business continuity came after the event. The power outage was prolonged and required us to secure fuel through multiple suppliers. Business continuity was maintained and we strengthened the program by developing new supplier relationships that may be key to business continuity in the future.
In early January 2009, Washington State experienced some of its worst flooding, mudslides and avalanches on record. More than 30,000 people were urged to evacuate their homes. Qwest’s primary concerns were the protection of infrastructure and the continuation of telecom services, including 911, to its hundreds of thousands of customers in many of the states’ municipalities.
We had built plans based on past events, which enabled us to deploy flood prevention measures to maintain business continuity throughout the ordeal. The 2009 floods helped to demonstrate the value of those previous investments and get closer to the ever-elusive ROI of BC/DR.
Do you have any “lessons learned” from putting a BC/DR plan into action?