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9/11: Attacks Changed the Way Companies View IT

The attack on the World Trade Center was a remarkable loss of human life, and that loss is one that cannot be understated. But as we move further away from the tragedy, other lessons can be seen. Something that was only understood or addressed after the attacks was how IT is treated and seen by companies. Before the attacks, companies only saw disruptions to IT as minor or inconvenient, but what happens when an entire firm disappears? Now, as this article by Grant Gross explains, IT assets are more likely to be distributed geographically and mirrored in multiple locations. IT fundamentally changed in what was considered good business practice for many companies affected by 9/11, and those changes spread to almost all companies in the United States and beyond: Ten years after 9/11 cloud storage and disaster recovery remain high-growth areas in the IT industry. ABI Research predicted the global market for business continuity and disaster data-recovery products would grow from US$24.3 billion in 2009 to more than $39 billion in 2015. The open networked disk storage market grew 15 percent between the second quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2011, rising to $4.8 billion in revenue, according to IDC. The 9/11 attacks were a “tipping point” for IT and U.S. awareness of terrorism, added Chris Caldwell, CEO and co-founder of LockPath, a vendor of risk management and compliance software. “Prior to the attack, American companies may have been prepared for natural disasters — 2011 events like the D.C. earthquake, Midwest tornadoes and Hurricane Irene — but most didn’t have terrorist activity on their radar at all,” he said. “Now, most companies — especially those on Wall Street — have taken a hard look at their business continuity plans and disaster recovery practices.” This led to a focus on constant vigilance and preparedness unseen before the attacks, but still some companies maintain an it-can’t-happen-to-us stance, which the author warns against. Disasters happen, and whether it’s from man or nature, companies need to understand they aren’t immune. Creating a plan for your IT assets is an important consideration for every CIO and business.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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