One new feature was the addition of a Mock Disaster Exercise on Sunday afternoon. It was sponsored by Comdisco, Inc. This innovative session was offered as a workshop option.
The Mock Disaster Exercise provided a chance for participants to guide a "company" from the point of failure to the point of recovery. The exercise included numerous areas of study including: crisis management, public relations/media concerns, legal issues, the recovery process, alternate sites, and the transition back home.
Because of the intricate planning involved for the session, enrollment was limited to 200. Those who were able to attend spoke highly of the session and its benefits.
"The mock disaster exercise was one of the most innovative concepts that I have ever seen for conducting a learning seminar, and the only thing I could recommend to improve it would be to stage two sessions during the conference, as it was unfortunate that so many people were unable to participate," said attendee Todd Young of Nesbitt Burns - Business Continuity Planning.
"Business Continuity Week"
In conjunction with the conference and the Mock Disaster Exercise, Florida Governor Lawton Chiles declared the week of September 13 - 19 as Business Continuity Week in Osceola County (page 42).
"Whereas, the exercise promises to be of great interest to all participants as suggestions and ideas are shared about keeping a company operational following a business disruption," stated part of the declaration.
Another section stated, "Whereas Florida is proud to play host to such a prestigious conference."
The declaration, a first for DRJ’s conference, was a great way to garner attention for the important message of the conference - planning and preparedness.
Another new feature at the symposium was the Cyber City Cafe. Sponsored by Rental Systems, Inc. and SunGard Recovery Services, the Cafe provided a place for attendees to surf the Internet and sip a variety of coffees.
The Cyber City Cafe was open during various hours of the conference and was extremely popular with attendees. Many attendees used hot mail accounts to keep in touch with work and several expressed their gratitute to the hosts for the helpful event. Others claimed the Cyber City Cafe was relaxing and fun and provided a great break from the sessions.
Experience Networking Opportunities
Upon onsite registration, all attendees at the symposium received complete conference materials in a binder. In addition, for the first time, they received a Virtual Conference CD-ROM in their attendee packets.
This CD-ROM featured the presentation material and handouts from most of the speakers as well as a Virtual Exhibit Hall, listing the exhibitors, their areas of expertise, and links to their web sites. The CD-ROM received praise from speakers, attendees and vendors for its usefulness and convenience.
Other conference highlights included a poolside hospitality sponsored by Comdisco Disaster Recovery Services on Monday evening. Attendees enjoyed live music and an array of food during the two hour event.
Attendees also were treated to networking breakfasts on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. The sit-down breakfasts provided an opportunity to visit and exchange ideas with other attendees while enjoying a meal.
Other networking opportunities were available during Roundtable Lunch discussions each day.
The Orlando symposium used the same successful format as its predecesors, with a few updates in some areas. Registration was on Sunday afternoon, followed by Workshop Sessions and an evening Welcome Reception. On Monday, General Sessions began the day, while Breakout Sessions occupied the afternoon. On Tuesday, General Sessions were again held in the morning, followed in the afternoon by a Breakout Session Track and Workshop Sessions. On Wednesday, the conference concluded after three morning General Sessions.
Lunch was served to the attendees on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Evening hours at the conference were occupied with various hospitalities and other networking opportunities.
Attendees also had plenty of time to network with the exhibitors and speakers each day.
Due to personal and travel conflicts, there were several speaker changes to the conference agenda. The back-up speakers who filled in were excellent and well-prepared to give their presentations. Attendees and the DRJ staff were grateful for their professionalism and preparedness.
The speakers and their sessions for Sunday were as follows:
Workshop 1, "Business Continuity for Wide Area Networks", Randy Fisher, AT&T, Jerry Elerick, Al Lewis, Qualcomm Corp.; Workshop 2, "Planning and Exercising for the Manufacturing Environment", Cole Emerson, CBCP, Cole Emerson and Assc.; Workshop 3, "Workplace Violence: The Human Side of Planning and Recovery", Barry Pruitt, CAPSys; Workshop 4, "Bomb Threat Analysis, Jack Wiles, Oltronics Security Services Division; Workshop 5, "Business Impact Assessment How-To", Carl Jackson, Ernst & Young; Workshop 6, "Mock Disaster Exercise", led by Comdisco, Inc.
On Monday, the following presentations were given:
General Session 1, "Eagles and Ducks", Lou Heckler, CSP, Lou Heckler and Assc.; General Session 2, "Reengineering the BC Planning Process", John Hayes, CBCP, Ernst & Young LLP; General Session 3, "Sudden Impact, Technologies for Reducing Recovery from Days to Hours", John Jackson, Comdisco Professional Services; Strategic Session 1, "BCP for Enterprise Recovery Plan Systems", Joel Tietz, CBCP, Price Waterhouse Info. Systems Risk Mgmt. Practice; Managerial Session 1, "Stop the No, Get the Go Ahead", Norman L. Harris, CRP, Harris Recovery Group; Technical Session 1, "Forward vs. Rerun Disaster Recovery - Which Can You Afford?", Erik Peterson, Mainstar; Emergency Response Session 1, "Introduction The Forgotten Essential", Al Rennick, CBCP, AT&T; Communications Session 2, "The People Factors in Business Continuity - Post Crisis Employee Communication", Dave Morgan, CBCP, CalFarm Insurance Company; Information Session 2, "Certification Programs for BCPs", Jay Bender, CBCP, Bill Langendoerfer, CBCP, DRI International; Strategic Session 3, "Exercising Your Plan: Ford Tornado Simulation Exercise," Susan J. Decker, Ford Motor Credit Company; Managerial Session 3, "Organizing and Developing A Comprehensive Business Continuity Plan", Geoffrey H. Wold, McGladrey & Pullen; Technical Session 3, "Disaster Recovery Planning: Developing Recovery Strategies for Small to Mid-sized Businesses", Steve Collins, CBCP, Jerry Sands, CBCP, SunGard Planning Solutions; Emergency Response Session 3, "Physical Security, Fire Safety and Crisis Management in a Global Environment", Leonard C. Cross, Arthur Andersen; Communications Session 3, "Solutions to Client/Server Disaster Recovery Problems", Jim LaRue, CBCP, Chrysler’s Tech. Centers Technical Computer Center; Information Session 3, "Workstation Recovery Options, Options, Options", Joseph J. Bollentino, CBCP, Bank of America.
Tuesday’s general sessions featured the following:
General Session 4, "The Naked Emperor: Exposing the Ignored Critical Issues of the Distributed Enterprise", Christopher Jesse, Tangram Enterprise Solutions, Inc.; and General Session 5, "101 New Ways to Improve Your Recovery Program", Ken Smith, Laurie Bailey, SunGard Planning Solutions.
Tuesday’s breakout speakers and their presentations were:
Strategic Session 4, "Emergency Operations Center", Dr. Jeffrey Williams, Binomial; Managerial Session 4, "Recovering the Enterprise", Tim Low, CIGNA Corporation; Technical Session 4, "Internet Security: Potholes on the Information Superhighway", David Curry, IBM Corporation; Emergency Response Session 4, "Is Your Critical Facility Prepared for an Electrical Disaster?", Dave Goodrich, Liebert Global Services; Communications Session 4, "Making Remote Copy Affordable", Brad Bruhahn, Hitachi Data Systems.
Tuesday’s workshops featured the following:
Workshop 1, "Business Impact Analysis: Beginning to End", Barney F. Pelant, MBCP, Barney F. Pelant & Associates; Workshop 2, Exercise Your Options, Norman Harris, CRP, Harris Recovery Group; Workshop 3, "The Anatomy of a Crisis", Karen Berg, CommCore Communication Strategies; Workshop 4, "Disaster Recovery - The Human Element", Donna Tona, CTS, Trauma Management Training Services Ltd.; Workshop 5, "Assessing BCP Maturity Levels Against Industry Best Practices", Tari Schreider, Nona Taitz, Sprint Paranet; Workshop 6, "It Won’t Happen Here! You’d Better Look Again!", Regina Phelps, RN, Health Plus.
On Wednesday, the remaining General Sessions were:
General Session 6, "Beyond Recovery - What the Future Holds for our Industry", Jeff Marinstein, IBM Business Recovery Services; General Session 7, "Triaging the Year 2000", Kenneth L. Vander Wal, Ernst & Young LLP; and General Session 8, "Success Comes in Cans...Not in Cannot!", Barry Pruitt, CAPSys - Crisis Avoidance Planning Systems.
Janette Ballman is a senior editor for the Disaster Recovery Journal.