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9/11: Five Years Later

The Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center still resonate deeply with solution providers who work in the New York City area. Friends, family and colleagues perished. On a lesser scale, they also saw the businesses of many clients wiped out when buildings were destroyed, data was lost and employees were disconnected from their offices. For the past five years, integrators have been doing what they can to prevent similar business scenarios.

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Most customers understand and have been following through with the disaster recovery, business continuity and backup plans offered by solution providers. "It's a business driver," said John Burke, president and CEO of JB Technologies in Manhattan, adding that disaster recovery and business continuity solutions account for more than 20 percent of his business, up from about 4 percent before 9/11. "For any business with more than 200 employees, the solutions are critical," Burke said.

While disaster recovery and business continuity solutions are considered business drivers today, they are often difficult to sell and harder for companies to maintain, especially when employees in charge of compliance leave. The majority of the solutions involve consultation and the implementation of companywide practices and processes—as opposed to infrastructure changes—which solution providers include as part of a yearly contract to ensure compliance.

"In general, it reflects how a company is run," said Todd Pekats, director of storage alliance at Compucom Systems, a national system integrator and manager with offices in Paulsboro, N.J. "To make those changes requires an institutional commitment."

Adam Eiseman, CEO and president of The Lloyd Group, a solution provider and IT management consultant in New York, said that disaster recovery and business continuity solutions account for 10 percent to 15 percent of his company's jobs in the city. "It wasn't a necessity before 9/11, it was a sale. Every single job today has a piece of that," he said. "The world has changed a lot since 9/11, in terms of how people use their phones and PCs. Back then, people had all their contacts stored on Roledexes, now they're on Outlook. People expect you to be available 24x7."

Those expectations hold true whether a business is affected by a major disaster, a water-main break or a blackout. And many businesses know it.

Sam Ruggeri, president of Advanced Vision, a Hauppauge, N.Y.-based solution provider, has seen a 20 percent increase in the sale of business continuity and disaster recovery solutions, especially among the high-profile financial firms he services in the city. "Many clients ask us to put together those plans," he said. "Nobody has let their guard down. In fact, it's higher than ever."

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