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AT&T Study Finds St. Louis Businesses Lack Adequate Plans for Potential Disasters.

ST. LOUIS, June 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AT&T Inc. announced today that its new report indicates that neither last year's devastation along the Gulf Coast nor the perpetual seismic threat of the New Madrid Fault have convinced St. Louis businesses that planning for disaster is important. The survey of 100 information technology executives in greater St. Louis found that one-third of the area's businesses do not consider business continuity planning a priority.

Business continuity is the continuous operation of critical business processes -- including computing and information technology (IT) -- before, during and after a disaster.

St. Louis was one of 10 metropolitan areas in which interviews were conducted. Compared with other cities throughout the country, St. Louis businesses are playing catch-up.
 -- Just 65 percent say they have a business continuity plan in place to
 prevent potential disruptions to their operations, the lowest of all
 the 10 cities surveyed.
 -- More than two out of five companies (45 percent) that have a plan in
 place said their plan has not been tested in more than a year or has
 never been tested.
 -- Even though St. Louis is far removed from the threat of hurricanes,
 one-fourth of the respondents said their organization has suffered
 from a disaster at one point or another.





"These results represent an early warning that our community may have grown complacent," said Richard Shank, AT&T's Enterprise sales center vice president in St. Louis. "We may be safe from hurricanes, but earthquakes, flooding, tornadoes, fires and man-made disasters such as cyber attacks can all have devastating consequences."

Unusually warm weather this spring spawned hundreds of tornadoes across the Midwest. Even so, more than half of the St. Louis respondents say they do not take specific protective actions even when state or federal governments issue warnings for an impending disaster, such as severe weather.

Making business continuity a priority is the first step. A solid plan then needs to be developed and implemented. Equally important, the plan should be updated and tested every six months. More than 50 percent of St. Louis businesses that have a business continuity plan say their plan has been updated in the past six months, among the highest percentage of all markets.

In today's workplace, a disruption in essential network infrastructures can easily lead to the collapse of vital business processes. The report found that 80 percent of St. Louis businesses include cyber security safeguards in their business continuity plans. Seven out of 10 of them cited viruses and worms as the most significant threat to cyber security. Spam was a distant second (38 percent).

Recommended preventive measures are to establish backup networks, identify alternative work sites, create protections for vital business processes and develop a program for post-disaster employee and customer communications. These steps taken with the regular testing and updating of a plan will go a long way toward securing the preparedness of a company.

Nationally, interviews with 1,000 executives were conducted in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, St. Louis, Seattle and Washington, D.C. For more information on the AT&T 2006 Business Continuity study, including the complete report, visit http://www.att.com/biz_continuity_study .

Study Methodology

These results are based upon 1,000 telephone interviews conducted by Western Wats and Opinion Research Corporation, among chief information officers and other senior IT executives from companies with more than $10 million in annual revenue. All respondents were screened to ensure that they are a senior decision-maker with responsibility for handling information technology at their respective organization.

One hundred interviews were conducted in 10 select markets (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, St. Louis, Seattle and Washington D.C.). Interviews were conducted January 17 - May 9, 2006.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. is one of the world's largest telecommunications holding companies and is the largest in the United States. Operating globally under the AT&T brand, AT&T companies are recognized as the leading worldwide providers of IP-based communications services to business and as leading U.S. providers of high-speed DSL Internet, local and long distance voice, and directory publishing and advertising services. AT&T Inc. holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which is the No. 1 U.S. wireless services provider with more than 55.8 million wireless customers. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and AT&T products and services is available at http://www.att.com/ .

Subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. provide products and services under the AT&T brand.

CONTACT: David Moessner, Office, +1-314-982-7675, Mobile, +1-636-399-2627, or E-mail, dmoessne@attnews.us , or Dan Keeney, Office, +1-832-467-2904, Mobile, +1-713-417-1498, or E-mail, dkeeney@attnews.us , both of AT&T Inc.

Web site: http://www.att.com/ http://www.att.com/biz_continuity_study
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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 21, 2006
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