PreparednessVerizon’s all-hazard approach to disaster preparation

Published 17 September 2012

September is National Preparedness Month in the United States, but Verizon saysits Business Continuity and Emergency Management teams are busy every day of the year monitoring, preparing, and responding to weather-related and man-made events throughout the world; there are 193 member states in the UN, and the company’s BCEM teams are operating in 150 of them and in more than 2,700 cities

September has been designated as National Preparedness Month in the United States, but Verizon says its Business Continuity and Emergency Management teams are busy every day of the year monitoring, preparing, and responding to weather-related and man-made events throughout the world.

The company says it monitors major events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, train derailments, hazardous material incidents, pandemics, data breach attempts, terrorism, and workplace violence, as well as any issue that could impact areas where the company has employees, network facilities, and other assets. The company also is responsible for preparing for special events where network assets are involved.  This year, such special events included the Super Bowl in Indianapolis, the Summer Olympics in London, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Summit in Chicago, the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Verizon uses an all-hazards approach to emergency management, which allows us to prepare for almost any type of event that could impact our business operations,” said Dick Price, Verizon’s chief business continuity officer. “No matter what type of catastrophic event occurs, we must be prepared to facilitate immediate recovery so we can continue serving our consumer, small and medium business, large enterprise, government and wholesale customers in the U.S. and throughout the world.”

The UN has 193 members states, and Verizon says it is offering communications solutions in 150 of them and more than 2,700 cities. The company’s Business Continuity and Emergency Management (BCEM) teams are responsible for facilitating the development and maintenance of business continuity and disaster recovery plans across all Verizon enterprises.

These BCEM teams are staffed by certified business continuity professionals and industry experts who are positioned around the globe supporting North, Central and South America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and the Asia-Pacific region, Australia and India.

The company says that key global focus areas for the teams include network operations and security, IT applications, data centers, customer service and support centers, technical sites and administrative centers.

Staying abreast of potential threats to Verizon and its network assets is critical to business operations. Using its Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC), the company’s BCEM staff is watching the world 24/7 for potentially disruptive events. The ISAC team actively monitors, analyzes, and disseminates situational information and intelligence regarding potential issues that could impact Verizon’s wireline operations in the United States and worldwide. For example, during hurricanes the ISAC team alerts appropriate company personnel of storm activity, anticipated paths of travel and rainfall predictions ninety-six hours before the expected impact.

When a major incident occurs, Verizon Wireline activates its National Emergency Coordinating Center. The center engages more than sixty-five Verizon departments worldwide, develops overall incident priorities, and coordinates the execution of a single-incident action plan of recovery and restoration activities until the incident no longer is a threat to the company.

Verizon says it has developed long-standing relationships with many federal, state, and local agencies through the years of working together during disasters. Verizon manages many emergencies and disasters using the National Incident Management System (NIMS), an  incident management system published by DHS, which enables responders at all levels, both public and private, to work together more effectively and efficiently to manage U.S. domestic incidents.  NIMS integrates effective practices in emergency response work into a comprehensive national framework for incident management. Verizon notes that it also uses the Incident Command System (ICS), which is a management approach for command, control, and coordination of emergency response.

During numerous exercises throughout the year, Verizon employees have opportunities to use NIMS and ICS while testing and refining their business continuity plans. Verizon business continuity plans are tested and updated annually.