AT&T, working with local officials and business leaders, is conducting a full-scale disaster recovery simulation - a Network Disaster Recovery Exercise - in the Metro Detroit area from May 6 to May 14 near The Dearborn Inn.
Last week, a fleet of 22 semi-tractor trailers was brought into Dearborn, loaded with networking equipment for creating a temporary central network office. A team of more than 60 permanent and volunteer NDR team members assembled and turned up the central network office, first using satellite communications and a satellite COLT (cell on light truck).
The simulation is designed to test and refine the speed and efficiency in which responders can restore wireless and wireline network operations in the event of an actual disaster. Essential to AT&T's own comprehensive business continuity plan, the Detroit NDR exercise will feature more than 25 disaster recovery trailers and vehicles, including emergency communications vehicles, and a variety of smaller utility and support trailers, as well as a search-and-rescue dog team demonstration.
"The city of Dearborn and the greater Detroit area business community are committed to continued sustainable economic growth - something that demands reliable and effective networks of communication," said Robert Ficano, chief executive officer of Wayne County. "Today's exercise gives our businesses and local government operations greater security in knowing the network and their connectivity are a top priority when dealing with major storms, terrorism or other disasters."
AT&T's 2010 Business Continuity Study found that many local Detroit businesses are prepared for disasters and several are investing in additional technology. Eighty-six percent of Detroit companies have business continuity plans and 77 percent are planning to invest in new technologies this year.
Some additional local results from the study include:
• A majority of companies (55%) provide employees access to social networking tools, and 72 percent are concerned about the increasing use of this technology and its impact on security threats.
• 73 percent are concerned about the increasing use of mobile networks and devices and their impact on security threats.
• A vast majority (80%) indicate they have special arrangements for communicating with key executives, while 81 percent have e-mail or text messaging capabilities to reach employees.
• Seven out of 10 (70%) Detroit businesses have systems in place that enable most employees to work from remote locations, and almost half (44%) have automated calling systems to reach employees by telephone or cell phone outside of work.
"We live and work in a connected world, where a local manmade or natural disaster could have effects on productivity and progress at a global scale," said Mark Francis, Vice President - Global Network Operations Center, AT&T. "AT&T's NDR activities and team are vital to ensuring our wireline and wireless networks experience the minimal amount of downtime in the event of an emergency. It's our commitment to our customers' safety, their businesses' sustainability and continued innovation and possibility."