9/11: Are Lessons Learned Still Being Applied?

In the weeks and months following 9/11, businesses closely assessed their disaster recovery and business continuity plans. Do they still do that today?

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Equally important was the lesson that, while an IT disaster-recovery plan matters greatly, so too does a business continuity plan that covers workforce, employee communications, workflow, and continuity of applications that may not be the brains of your business but are the heart – those applications that connect your employees to each other and to customers.

One former VP and CIO of a Fortune 500 construction services company, Joe Puglisi, says many businesses either began hosting their IT operations at data center providers’ facilities outside of the major metro areas into the suburbs or simply moved their data centers into those areas. The market for data center hosting continues to grow.

That’s what Hologic, a $1.7 billion medical device company based in Bedford, Mass., did following 9/11, according to this great article about how 9/11 continues to influence IT strategy. Listen to what Dave Rudzinsky, CIO at Hologic told CIO.com editors about why the company decided to move key applications including its ERP systems to a hosted data center facility. "We're in the medical device business, not the data center business," he’s quoted as saying. The data center provider has more expertise implementing state-of-the-art disaster recovery plans and technologies, he added. Futhermore, the 9/11 tragedy shifted Hologic's disaster recovery preparations from an exercise to satisfy corporate auditors to a strategic priority for both IT and the company’s top executives.

Likewise, 9/11 forced Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., to take seriously its disaster recovery, which had always seemed to get pushed to the back burner, according to the CIO.com article. The terrorist attack was the impetus that drove the university to fund and build a second, redundant data center.

I’m sure there are many other examples we could point to. It’s clear that 9/11 left an indelible mark on everything we do. But as we reflect on all we lost from those horrific terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, and all that we’ve learned since, we still need to be vigilant.

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