ZIFFPAGE TITLEContention for Resources

By Anna Maria Virzi  |  Posted 2006-09-07 Print this article Print

Dennis O'Donovan, director of New York information services at law firm Sidley Austin, was working in the firm's World Trade Center north tower office on Sept. 11, 2001, when the first hijacked plane smashed into his building.

Contention for Resources

Q: Did you lose any electronic records?

A: There may have been some limited amount of that, but it was no way a significant factor or amount.

Q: What type of system do you use for backup?

A: We still use tape, and we were exclusively using tape at the time. A lot of it was server by server, and individual tape drives. We have since moved to consolidate a lot of that. And there were plans to leverage some of the infrastructure we had toward interoffice SAN-to-SAN [storage area network] backups. We have not fully implemented that, but that is still the plan.

Q: When were the firm's offices operating again?

A: We were up and running with six days [from 9/11]. We mobilized considerable amount of workforce and materials in ways that there was not a precedent for that type of recovery.

We were able to get manpower and equipment. One of the things that DR [disaster recovery] training prepares you for is you may be in contention for a lot of these resources. If you do not have pre-existing contracts in place, you may not be able to count on [vendors or others]. We did not have pre-existing contracts, but we did have outstanding quality relations with our vendors. We were model customers, and got model treatment.

Q: Who were some of the vendors?

A: Dell for computers, HP for printers, and Cisco for networking. We quickly got in touch with our cabling vendor at the time, Labrador Technology. We used Tek Systems and Premier Technology for manpower. Bowne Business Solutions, who were already providing help desk, also provided supplemental manpower.

Q: In addition to calling your vendors, what did you do internally to restore operations?

A: We mobilized within the firm with the other offices--all spare equipment was immediately loaded into trucks and began rolling towards New York We got our tape-vaulting company in New Jersey to ship our tapes to Chicago [headquarters] for recovery; Chicago had the server infrastructure available to put it up quickly to accommodate recovering all of those systems. The New York Sidley office was considerably smaller [than Chicago]. Over the coming months, we brought the hosting back to the New York office.

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Executive Editor
Anna Maria was assistant managing editor Forbes.com. She held the posts of news editor and executive editor at Internet World magazine and was city editor and Washington correspondent for the Connecticut Post, a daily newspaper in Bridgeport. Anna Maria has a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island.

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