To be redundant

Reliable phone service during a crisis is a basic need, and with phones

especially, agencies are learning the "real" meaning of redundancy, said

Brian Burns, deputy chief information officer at the Department of Health

and Human Services.

In the past, redundancy usually meant running a second line, owned by

another service provider, into the same building, he said. But when the

building is taken down, or is inaccessible, it doesn't matter how many lines

there are.

Now, redundancy will usually involve a wireless option, such as Research

In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry handheld devices and other point-to-point solutions,

Burns said.

Redundancy also means shopping around for additional resources for data

network backup and recovery, said Mayi Canales, deputy CIO at the Treasury

Department.

Most agencies have learned to keep an off-site backup for their data

networks, she said. However, that will help when only one organization is

affected. If multiple organizations come to the backup provider all at once,

no one will be able to get up and running any time soon, she said.

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