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Communications Are the Lifeblood of Your Business

A telecommunications network to an enterprise is like oxygen to a human being. You can't live without it. Most top management thinks that a phone is a phone, and it will always work when needed. That's not necessarily true. Telecommunications networks today support complex voice, data, and Internet communications on which an enterprise depends for its lifeblood. Without such communications, the enterprise couldn't take customer orders, provide customer service, manage a supply chain, and perform e-commerce.

We've already seen the beginnings of electronic terrorism. E-commerce–dependent companies have been hit with denial-of-service attacks, and email viruses have infected many enterprises. But network terrorism attacks are not all electronic, as shown by the anthrax example. Consequently, preparedness today requires considering a much wider range of security and disaster scenarios than ever before. Not only must these scenarios be considered, but responses must be planned, documented, and practiced.

When an enterprise's telecommunications network is destroyed or shut down, that enterprise's business stops. Each enterprise must determine the cost of a possible network security breach or disaster to its operations and then plan and implement appropriate recovery plans and procedures to overcome the effects of such a security breach or disaster.

The process of preparing for a network for security breaches and disasters requires four steps:

  1. Assessment. Determining the likely security and disaster scenarios and the likely cost impact on the enterprise.

  2. Strategies. Determining the technical strategies and their associated costs for overcoming the likely security breaches and disaster scenarios. These should match the cost impact for each potential security breach or disaster scenario.

  3. Planning. Establishing and documenting specific procedures for dealing with each security breach and disaster scenario.

  4. Implementation. Putting into place the plans and procedures required to overcome each security breach or disaster scenario. Acting out the plan to determine its shortcomings and determining the adjustments to the plan to overcome the shortcomings tests the responses to security breaches and disasters.

Each step is important in preparation for the unexpected events that may engulf our lives at any time.

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