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Verizon Business’ Continuity Plans Allow for Uninterrupted Conferencing Service During Midwest Floods


Conferencing Services Quickly Relocated After Evacuation of Cedar Rapids Conferencing Call Center.

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. -- Whether it’s raging rivers in the Midwest, undersea quakes in the Pacific Ring of Fire, typhoons in Asia or hurricanes in America, Verizon Business acts at a moment’s notice to protect and restore its network facilities around the world.

The latest test of the company’s preparedness for natural or manmade disasters occurred recently when record flooding in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, forced the relocation of Verizon Business’ conferencing services. The company quickly implemented an alternate means of providing the services.

Based on its successful track record for protecting its network in emergency situations, Verizon Business Wednesday (June 25) became the first North American-based global communications provider to be recognized by BSI Management Systems as a leading provider of business continuity management services. (See separate news release.)

Verizon Business’ 16,000 operations and technology employees monitor and maintain - around-the-clock, seven days a week -- a leading global IP network with 485,000 miles of fiber-optic cable serving 150 countries and 2,700 cities worldwide. Redundancy and diversity are built into the network at every available opportunity.

When human or natural disaster events strike, the Verizon Business team reacts quickly.

“Our employees are prepared to respond immediately to disruptive events that could impact our network around the world,” said Jeannie Diefenderfer, Verizon Business vice president of global network operations. “In today’s environment, a company must anticipate and quickly recover from any unexpected event while continuing its regular operations.”

Verizon Business has numerous business continuance and emergency management (BCEM) plans that can be implemented within minutes of an event. The company maintains organizational, network, systems and disaster-recovery plans for local, regional, national and global events. These plans are tested regularly to ensure employees are aware of every detail and can perform their jobs in the most difficult situations.

Business Continuity Plans Put to the Test in Iowa

With recent floods in the Midwest, Verizon Business had to implement its proactive business-continuity measures. As flood waters began to rise near network buildings in Iowa and Wisconsin, Verizon Business engaged available company resources throughout the United States. The company’s global event network management center in Cary, N.C., which coordinates the protection and restoration of ongoing network related issues around the world, was brought into service first.

The company then activated its local emergency coordinating center, which provided logistical and communications support to the field operation teams near the flood waters. Emergency response teams from several states provided extra personnel and equipment. The Verizon Business National Emergency Coordinating Center (NECC) in Richardson, Texas, was also activated.

In addition to protecting its network, Verizon Business also had to implement a business continuance plan for its own global conferencing organization when flood waters closed its administrative facility in downtown Cedar Rapids. The facility was closed before any flood waters reached it, but almost 800 employees were displaced as a result of this building closure.

“Flood or no flood, we had a conferencing customer who needed 7,000 ports for a conference call, and we had to provide that customer and all customers with the best conferencing services available whether we were in our regular office or not,” said Dick Price, Verizon Business executive director of business continuance and emergency management.

“When we were told by city officials that a mandatory evacuation was in process due to the rising water and our building would be closed until further notice, we immediately began steps to relocate the conferencing center,” Price said. “Since we have been through similar circumstances of relocating business functions during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City, we are well-versed in responding to these issues quickly.”

Working with the BCEM team, the NECC and Verizon Business’ Satellite Solutions Group in Plano, Texas, the company was able to implement within six hours a means of providing the conferencing services via satellite.

“This is the beauty of having strategic resources at our fingertips when working major events,” Price said. “We can provide complete solutions to some very difficult business issues within a short timeframe.”


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