Two law firms, both just a few blocks away from the World Trade Center, were equally decimated by the collapse of 1.8 million tons of glass and steel on September 11. Both firms used the same company to help them reconstitute business, but one firm was up and back to business as usual in two days. The other lost everything, and a year later, is still in the process of digging through paper files in warehouses, going back to clients and even competitors to try and recreate its records. So goes an anecdote from Andrew Kass, director of technical services for Array Technologies, the New York- based consulting firm that helped the two law firms with their disaster recovery plans. Law firm A had followed his company's prescriptions to the letter, while firm B had used some of Array's services for its networking and documentation, but had taken matters into its own hands on business continuity matters, making the unwise-and ultimately unlucky--decision to store their backup tapes in the World Trade Center. Kass is a business continuity expert who witnessed the human and business toll of the catastrophe. Since that horrific event, analysts have been looking to the business continuity industry to divine if any good has come of it. While some reports indicate companies are now more open to spending on disaster recovery plans, others say purse-strings are as tight as ever during the tough economic times. According to statistics from Meta Group, fewer than 25 percent of businesses currently have comprehensive business continuity/disaster recovery plans that are adequately documented and regularly tested. By 2003, that number should rise to 35 percent of businesses, and by 2004, it will hover around 50 percent, Meta predicts. An online poll of Tech Update readers suggests that companies are still resistant to change. Of approximately 250 respondents, only 10 percent said their company had changed its disaster recovery plan since September 11. A whopping 50 percent said their company doesn't yet have a plan in place. "September 11 is losing its effect," said Yankee Group analyst Zeus Kerravala, who saw a short spurt of interest after the World Trade Center disaster, followed by a relapse into apathy. "I run panels and talk to people ad nauseam about business continuity planning, but companies are still taking a reactive rather than a proactive approach." Tech Update talked to five companies with first-hand experience helping companies recover from the devastation of 9/11 to see if disaster recovery practices have really changed.
- Andrew Kass, Director of Technical Services for Array Technologies, a New York-based consulting company
- Chris Cangero, Vice President of Operations at Epoch Data, another New York-based consultancy
- H. Grady Crunk III, Executive Vice President of CentralData, a remote network management company in Titusville, Florida
- Todd Pekats, Director of Professional Services at Lakeville, MA -based storage consulting companyNeartek
- Gary Lokken, Advisory Director of the Business Continuity Planners Association