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7/25/2003
07:02 PM
John Soat
John Soat
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IT Confidential: Paranoid Or Prepared: You Make The Call

Only 15% say their companies are totally prepared for disaster

Congress last week released a report on the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and one thing that came through loud and clear was, despite strong indications a terrorist attack was imminent, the agencies involved didn't act like it. That, and subsequent developments in the world, are why the results of a Harris Interactive survey to be released this week are a bit unsettling. The poll, sponsored by SunGard Availability Services, queried 52 "C-level" executives at large companies, and a third say their firms aren't any more prepared now, in terms of business continuity and disaster recovery, than they were before Sept. 11. Only 60% say their companies have teams designated to handle information-continuity operations from remote locations, slightly less than that have backup offices for workers displaced by a disaster, and a little more than half say their companies have disaster-preparedness training for employees who deal with information access. Just 2% believe a terrorist attack is the biggest threat to their ability to access information systems without interruption.

Randy Mott, CIO of Dell Computer--oops, I mean Dell Inc.--says he's been fielding calls from CIOs asking him what to do about SCO Group's copyright-related saber-rattling over Linux and Unix. "What we try to do," Mott says, "is to have an expectation that the technology issues will be resolved." Dell sells Linux-based systems and uses the open-source operating system in its IT architecture. "Linux is a good strategy, it's a good technology," Mott says, and companies shouldn't let intellectual-property issues get in the way of an effective IT strategy. "You can stop and wait on everything that's in court, or you can go forward," he says. "You can't stand still."

America Online tapped John McKinley last week as its chief technology officer and president of AOL Technologies. Before AOL, McKinley was executive VP and head of global technology and services at Merrill Lynch, where he helped launch the financial-services company's online trading. Before that, he was senior VP and chief technology and information officer at GE Capital.

ChevronTexaco said last week that David Clementz, president and CIO of its information technology company, will retire at the end of July. Gary Masada, president of energy research and technology, will replace Clementz, who worked for the company for 30 years.

Euclid said last week it will tap the brainpower of a few veteran IT folks by forming an IT advisory group. Euclid, which launched earlier this year and markets IT-management software, has signed up Gary Sutula, most recently CIO at R.R. Donnelley; Brian Kilcourse, former CIO of Longs Drugs; and Bob Doyle, former CIO at Alliant Foodservices (formerly Kraft Foodservice).

You mean people get paid for offering advice? So how come I'm not a millionaire?--wait, I think I just answered my own question. Send your advice, or an industry tip, to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about potential terrorist attacks or the Linux showdown, meet me at the Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.

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