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September 10, 2010


Tomorrow is 9-11!

By Larry Walsh

Tomorrow is 9-11-10. Nine years ago, our lives changed. Within days of the attacks, I was in New York at Ground Zero and in Queens interviewing executives at the New York Board of Trade.

Turns out NYBOT’s disaster recovery plan put the commodities trading exchange right back in business. NYBOT had been maintaining a mirrored site in Queens since shortly after the first WTC bombing in 1993. It didn’t’ take long to cut over to the Queens site and send all the traders over there. It was a brilliant plan that paid off.

Hard-hit bond trader Cantor Fitzgerald had a great disaster recovery plan underpinned by high-speed network links. It saved the company, despite catastrophic personnel losses.

Walking around the smoking ruins of the WTC has left me with indelible memories. I was there not to cover the human and material loss, but to cover the disaster recovery plans of the WTC’s leading tenants. It made me feel odd, covering something so impersonal. And yet, were it not for the solid disaster recovery plans of so many companies and the peerless execution of those plans, the chaos intended by the perpetrators of 9-11 would have been vastly greater.

If you’re an IT person, you should pause and reflect on 9-11 as we all will. And then think of your disaster recovery plan. It’s not something to keep on a shelf collecting dust. It can, and just might some day save your company. And as NYBOT and Cantor Fitzgerald proved, it may do a lot for your country as well.

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