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Can Your Network Hold Up to Terrorism?

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Large cities and governments are not the only targets of terrorist attacks - or subject to major disasters. If your business suddenly lost voice communications, Internet access, or data transmission, could it survive? Do you have an emergency plan in place, tested and ready to be activated immediately?

In this article, Pete Moulton covers the scenarios and activities that every enterprise needs to implement, just in case. Pete Moulton is the author of The Telecommunications Survival Guide (Prentice Hall PTR, 2001, ISBN 0-13-028136-0) and The A+ Certification and PC Repair Guide (Prentice Hall PTR, 2001, ISBN 0-13-065203-2).

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After the 9/11/01 terrorist attack and the anthrax letters in the U.S., network security became increasingly important. How could a newspaper company in Florida anticipate the impact on their network of a single letter contaminated with anthrax spores? Once such a letter was received and anthrax detected, they abandoned their facility and moved to a new one, leaving behind their telecommunications equipment and telephone systems installed in the building. What happened to the system that they relied on to take advertising orders, send and receive articles from reporters, and more? Could they move their telecommunications and voice equipment to a new facility? Not when they abandoned the old facility to be safe from anthrax. Who would move the equipment for them? The FBI, in biohazard suits? (Believe that, and I can sell you a bridge in Brooklyn.)

Did their network hold up well to terrorism? Probably it didn't hold up to this unexpected attack. Would your network hold up to terrorism? After 9/11 there are more scenarios to consider.

A possible solution for the newspaper company would have been to order temporary dial-up and Centrex lines for their new facility. These could be used for dial-up data and voice phone services until a new telecommunications network could be constructed. But getting local dial-up phone service would still take time, so cell phones might be needed until the public switched-network telephone services were installed and operating.

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