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CDW Sees Strong Customer Interest in Business Continuity.

US Environmental Services, LAFCU and Berenfeld, Spritzer, Shechter & Sheer Reflect Increased National Interest in Planning for Unforeseen Business Disruptions

VERNON HILLS, Ill. -- CDW Corporation (NASDAQ:CDWC), a leading provider of technology products and services to business, government and education, today announced growing momentum of companies implementing information technology (IT) solutions to keep their operations running in case of unforeseen business disruptions. Amid growing market concerns over data losses, risk from homeland security threats, the severity of weather cycles and the impact of natural disasters, the Fortune 500 technology provider says IT's role in assuring continuity of operations is evident from CDW customer activity in virtually all regions and business sectors.

This trend is consistent with a survey of corporate risk executives, published recently by the Economist Intelligence Unit, in which 47 percent reported that loss of their companies' IT systems for just 24 hours or less could jeopardize their survival. Stretch the IT outage to a week, and 79 percent said their organizations would be at serious risk of failure. ("Business resilience: Ensuring continuity in a volatile environment," [c] The Economist Intelligence Unit 2007) Data losses; human error or malfeasance; systems failure; and viruses, worms or other malware all ranked higher than natural disasters or terrorism as threats to business operations. The same report cites a survey by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, which found that 25 percent of companies experiencing an IT outage of 2-6 days went bankrupt immediately.

"Corporate executives are realizing what IT departments have known for years, which is that organizations failing to plan for business disruptions are planning to fail," said Firooz Ghanbarzadeh, CDW Director of Technology Services and Solutions. "As a result, keeping the operation running during natural or manmade disruptions - from snow days or power outages to homeland security events - is moving to the top of the business priority list, and that is apparent every day in our conversations with our customers."

Here are some examples of CDW customers that have implemented plans for business continuity:

United States Environmental Services: Keeping them going helps others recover sooner

New Orleans-based United States Environmental Services, LLC (USES), with 16 locations across the southern U.S., is a full-service environmental contracting firm specializing in environmental emergency response and clean-up. Despite USES' own headquarters being immersed in 13 feet of water from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the firm was among the first to return to New Orleans and immediately became part of the largest storm recovery in U.S. history, providing services in hurricane-ravaged communities from Florida to Texas. USES hired IT Director Keith Plaisance in the immediate aftermath of the storm to rebuild network infrastructure, including a robust business continuity plan. Plaisance turned to CDW's Voice/Data, Networking and Storage teams to recommend a course of action and implement the solution.

With a fully-meshed Global Crossing IP-VPN (MPLS) network in place, under a contract facilitated by CDW, all data normally routes back to the USES headquarters in New Orleans. The business continuity plan USES and CDW developed in 2006 includes capability for complete IT facility relocation upon 48-hours notice to a backup location in Jackson, Mississippi. In 2007, USES implemented a solution to perform overnight data replications and enable automatic failover to the backup site. USES and CDW have now eliminated all single points of failure in the network.

"We are still growing, despite the Category Five business disruption," says Plaisance, "and the CDW team is like an extension of my department. I know I can go to them with anything, and they'll respond quickly with the information we need to make a decision. CDW has a very high level of expertise in every facet of IT, which is invaluable to us when deciding what works best for us as a company."

LAFCU: Protecting data for tomorrow can also improve operations today

The management team at LAFCU (Lansing Automakers Federal Credit Union), a community credit union with six branches serving 55,000 members in Lansing, Michigan, instituted a business continuity plan that includes management policies, emergency procedures and technology solutions. To provide the technology support, IT Director Brian Wixson called on CDW's storage specialist team to help design and implement a new storage area network (SAN) based on a LeftHand iSCSI SAN networked storage module and three servers. Later this year, the new SAN will replicate data to an offsite disaster recovery facility using a VMware Virtual Infrastructure solution. As well as supporting LAFCU's business continuity strategy, Wixson says the new SAN and virtualization solution will enable server consolidation and provide for easier physical management of the credit union's network assets.

"We're not very concerned with hurricanes or earthquakes in Michigan - but there are other equally serious, less obvious threats that could affect any business, anywhere," Wixson said. "Our customers trust us to protect their financial assets, and that means protecting our data and IT assets with a sound continuity plan. CDW's knowledge of the vendors and options to do that is invaluable."

Berenfeld, Spritzer, Shechter & Sheer gets a new network and power to survive

Berenfeld, Spritzer, Shechter & Sheer ("Berenfeld Spritzer"), one of South Florida's largest, most progressive certified public accounting and business advisory firms, was among the area's more fortunate businesses in 2005, when more than five hurricanes and major tropical storms buffeted the region. Berenfeld Spritzer's offices were undamaged, but the firm still lost 14 days of business operations and revenue. Network Operations Manager Benjamin Thaw seized on the firm's planned move to new headquarters as a chance to upgrade the firm's entire network infrastructure and include new provisions for continuity of operations when disruptions occur.

For a comprehensive understanding of solution alternatives, Thaw worked with his CDW account manager and CDW's technology specialty teams in wireless, WAN/LAN, security, power and storage technologies. They started with the Wide Area Network (WAN), building an MPLS Cloud running over dual, 3 Megabit T1 lines with redundant connections to Bell South. They beefed up the firm's primary storage with a new SAN, added a company-wide document management system and a second SAN, programmed to perform replication across the WAN. They added 30 kilowatts of backup power from an American Power Conversion (APC) Symmetra PX, and future plans include expansion of the backup to 40 kilowatts, with generator backup and distributed server capacity.

"CDW's team was a huge ally for us throughout the planning and installation," Thaw says. "They provided immediate response and expedited shipments so that we could count on the delivery dates they set. They arranged for vendor representatives to be on hand during critical phases so that all of the pieces flowed."

"Despite the increased focus, business continuity remains a multi-faceted challenge. For example, the 2007 CDW Telework Report indicates that just 33 percent of commercial employees could work remotely in the event of a natural or manmade disaster," said CDW's Ghanbarzadeh. "What matters most is the safety and security of people, but protecting data and the IT infrastructure means that the business can survive and put people back to work sooner."

To learn more about planning for business continuity, go to

About CDW

CDW[R], ranked No. 343 on the FORTUNE 500, is a leading provider of technology solutions for business, government and education. CDW is a principal source of technology products and services including top name brands such as APC, Acer, Adobe, Apple, Cisco, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Lenovo, Microsoft, Panasonic, Quantum, Samsung, Sony, Symantec and ViewSonic. CDW's direct model offers customers one-on-one relationships with knowledgeable account managers and access to more than 760 on-staff engineers and advanced technology specialists who customize solutions for customers' complex technology needs. CDW also provides same-day product shipping and post-sales technical support.

CDW was founded in 1984 and employs approximately 5,480 coworkers. In 2006, the company generated sales of $6.8 billion. For more information, visit
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Publication:Business Wire
Article Type:Company overview
Date:Apr 16, 2007
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