When crisis hits, our Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) and Business Continuity Program has the resources and capabilities to quickly respond and recover. Since 1991, AT&T invested more than $600 million and more than 130,000 hours developing our NDR program—one of the industry's largest and most advanced.
The goal—to help continue wireless and wireline communications during emergencies.
AT&T is the first private-sector company—and only communications company— certified under the international Business Continuity Management Standard (ISO 22301) for the Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Program (PS-Prep™).
I spoke with Bruce Lundeen, senior network engineer and lead on the PS-Prep certification, to learn more.
Q: Can you explain PS-Prep and what the re-certification means for our NDR and Business Continuity Program?
PS-Prep™ is a program overseen by the Department of Homeland Security that highlights a company’s ability to plan for, respond to, and recover from disasters and emergencies. We received our original certification for PS-Prep in 2012. The new ISO standard follows the previous standard within the PS-Prep™ portfolio and is the accepted Business Continuity Management standard worldwide.
This means that AT&T is equipped to resume business operations and serve our customers in the vital hours and days after a disaster. In an emergency, we can quickly resume network traffic, field customer calls and queries, and service our communities.
Q: What did the certification process require?
We developed a business continuity/disaster response program in 2005. And when the PS-Prep™ initiative rolled out in 2010, we decided to pursue the certification. It required we demonstrate our capabilities to an authorized auditor from the federal government Accreditation Body.
Every year, an external audit team comes in from the PS-Prep organization to review our program. It’s a long, intense process, but maintaining a seamless disaster response plan is a constant commitment.
Q: What was the motivation behind earning the PS-Prep certification?
AT&T has maintained an executable and pragmatic disaster response plan for over 100 years. We do it for our customers and those who rely on our services in times of emergency—not just for the certification.
In order to provide the best services, we wanted assurance that we were providing truly that—the best. This certification constantly holds us to a higher standard and we continually improve to maintain it.
Q: How does this certification affect our NDR program on a larger-scale?
Currently, our NDR program recovery fleet includes nearly 320 trailers and support vehicles. We have deployed recovery equipment to affected areas more than 70 times. That includes Hurricane Mathew in 2016, Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and Irene in 2011.
We were there after Sept. 11, 2001 recovering and providing emergency communications support for humanitarian efforts. We continue to be there in times of crisis, and this certification verifies that we’re equipped to do so—and do it well.
Maintaining our global network is vital—especially in times of disaster. We are committed to our customers and this certification proves that. Just don’t take our word for it—take theirs.
Take a look at our NDR team in action below. At this exercise in Chicago, we had over 50 people—NDR volunteers and full-time staff—practicing for emergency deployment. This team holds multiple “dress rehearsals” every year to prepare for disasters– something we’ve done for 23 years in various locations across the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
Steve Poupos - Global Network Operations Director