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Disasters Happen

October 2, 2011


By: Doug Elkins

Sept. 11, 2001: Hijackers crashed commercial jets into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pa.

Aug. 29, 2005: Hurricane Katrina devastates the Louisiana and Mississippi coast… Millions without electricity… communications inoperable… $100 billion in losses…

May 22, 2011: One-third of Joplin, Missouri is leveled by tornados… Over 2,000 buildings are destroyed…

As the classic paradox goes, the only thing that is certain in this world is uncertainty!

Several months ago, ABC began a comprehensive process to analyze our ability to operate if or when the inevitable disaster strikes our facilities. Through the input of our customers, we realized that the availability our club and member facing software systems had evolved to the point they were critical to club operations. As a result of this process, ABC completely rebuilt our Business Continuity and Disaster Preparedness programs and now provides our customers with the highest levels of assurances of our operations. Here are some facts about our program:

  • Upon a loss of ABC facilities, ABC’s phone system will be reestablished in under a minute.
  • Upon a partial loss of ABC’s facilities, our club and member management software will be fully functional within 5 minutes.
  • Upon a total loss of ABC facilities, our club and member management software will be fully functional in less than 4 hours.
  • Upon a loss of ABC facilities, our billing systems will be operational within one day.
  • ABC has multiple disaster recovery facilities located in the Northeast, Mid-South and Southwest.
  • ABC undergoes a live, full-system Disaster Recovery test twice a year.
  • ABC allocates full time personnel who oversee the maintenance and operation of Business Continuity planning, testing and operations.

ABC also understand that Business Continuity is about more than just systems and software – it’s also about people and processes. During the week of February 7, 2011, ice storms in Central Arkansas made conditions such that most ABC personnel could not make it to campus. On a normal day of operations, over 200 employees operate out of our main facility. On this day, there were fewer than 20. Our decentralized work force, supported by our world-class technologies, enabled ABC to continue all operations with only a marginal decrease in efficiencies. Calls were still answered in less than a minute, payment processing was conducted on time and all areas of ABC were online and working to meet our customers’ needs.

The business discipline of Business Continuity requires an ongoing, ever improving, ever changing program requiring diligence, focus, and dedicated resources. ABC has adopted Business Continuity preparedness as core part of our business DNA. A good link place to learn more about Business Continuity is on Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_continuity_planning