Still Much We Can Learn From Sept. 11

The lessons and achievements can serve as a blueprint for disaster recovery plans.

Disaster planning used to focus on natural disasters, accidents and careless employees. But after the terrorist strikes on Sept. 11 last year, disaster planning expanded to become the work of planning to recover from an attack once thought of as only remotely possible in the United States. This week, we go back to companies and executives that a year ago were dealing not only with the human pain of losing friends and co-workers but also with the enormous task of rebuilding a business lost in a mountain of rubble.

In this weeks Cover Story, "Rebuilding for Tomorrow," Stan Gibson returns to New York to interview the execs he first met a year ago as they were still getting their businesses up and running following the attacks. The New York Board of Trade, Dow Jones, Cantor Fitzgerald and other enterprises in Lower Manhattan were able to quickly get their businesses operational, despite the devastation that appeared complete and unrecoverable on televisions around the world. The wrenching lessons and the execs achievements should serve as a blueprint for companies developing disaster recovery plans.

Within days of the Sept. 11 attacks, experts and commentators were asking if greater use of technology could have prevented the strike. Perhaps, but as Peter Coffee explains in "Focus on Identity, Vigilance," those looking toward a quick technology fix to their security concerns are sure to be disappointed. Security is a state of mind and a process as much as tools or products you can buy from a vendor.

Lately, there has been considerable speculation that the next attack will be a cyber-attack aimed at crippling our digital infrastructure. Many of the proposals on how to secure the digital assets of the country are coming together in a federal proposal first reported in eWEEK by Caron Carlson and Dennis Fisher. Caron continues her investigation into those proposals with an article on plans by the White House to prod large enterprises to develop network authentication procedures on a broad basis.

Reading through this weeks Cover Story and related articles, Im reminded of an expression that has been around at least since the 1600s: Forewarned is forearmed. The warning we received on Sept. 11 was devastating on all levels. In the past 12 months, we have done much to be forearmed, but much remains to be accomplished.

What is the most valuable business lesson youve learned from Sept. 11? Write to me at