American Academy of Periodontology

Desiring an ordered approach to disaster recovery planning, AAP Board considers organizational risks and recommendations

“Prompted by a suggestion from the IS director that a recovery site was needed to survive a disaster, the executive director and I went to the board with various recommendations,” said Nadine Seidman, deputy executive director for the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). “The board instead decided they wanted a risk assessment by an outside consultant. Among other things, the board requested information on the financial impact of downtime. Attainium came under consideration when the IT Director, Margo Pecoulas, who had attended Attainium’s Disaster Experience workshop, recommended them.”

“I thought it was a good idea to have an outside group facilitate the process,” said Pecoulas, whose initial suggestion helped start the ball rolling. “I really wanted to get some perspective on where we were with our preparedness and what steps we could take to improve our readiness.”

When the proposals came in, Seidman said, “Attainium seemed the most practical. It was a very straightforward proposal, laid out in stages that would allow us to do what we needed now and add on in the future as necessary. The actual analysis was very painless; Attainium stuck very closely to the proposal and met all deadlines. They provided forms, suggested a team approach, compiled and facilitated discussion on all the responses, then provided a report for the Board of Trustees along with a series of recommendations. The Board agreed to implement some of the suggestions immediately – the crisis communication plan and locating an alternate site for computer operations – plus recommended a complete disaster recovery plan be done in 2007.”

“In the course of the analysis, I learned that our meeting director had a good crisis communication plan for our annual meeting, which she’ll use as the basis for other event plans,” said Seidman. “We also discovered, through answering the questions for the assessment, vulnerabilities that need to be addressed and that we had some flexibility in terms of downtime, which helped us in prioritizing things.”

Lynne Paul, facilities director, said that the analysis “brought to the forefront all the things we weren’t prepared for if something should happen. We had the usual fire safety drills and evacuation plans, but we were lacking in other areas. Attainium had us do a chart of things that would be important to maintaining continuity and prioritize them in terms of what we would really need to survive if a disruption lasted two weeks… our phone service, for example, and back-up servers.

“We determined that the web site was important to communicate with members, even though it wasn’t a profit center. We have a staff of about 43 or 44 and some 8,000 periodontist members who use our web site for event and course registration, program info, and member and officer communications.”

“They did a great job helping us look at what we needed to see that we weren’t seeing,” Paul added. “They got us on the right track to where we want to head.”

Don Morin, Controller, was involved from the financial perspective, and felt that Attainium’s methodology helped them become more confident that they could handle things on the financial end of the organization. “We are in pretty good shape with regard to financial impact, since we can access our payroll and other accounts by logging in outside the office, and our bank also has a backup system. Regardless, it’s helpful to analyze the situation to learn what kind of problems would occur if something happened,” Morin said.

“Attainium was very easy to work with,” Seidman said. “Their approach was practical and effective and took a limited amount of everyone’s time. The analysis was thorough and met all our needs. We’re very pleased with the result.”

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