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Lessons Learned: Exchange Doubles Up Backup

Many companies 'woke up' quickly following Sept. 11, and money was no object for the next six months, but this initial enthusiasm has waned, says New York Board of Trade's Gambaro.

Sept. 11 was a wake-up call for New York businesses. After the collapse of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers, many companies found themselves exiled across town, to the city's outer boroughs, or to facilities in New Jersey. Contingency planning was no longer a drill.

Four years after its main facility was destroyed at 4 World Trade Center, the New York Board of Trade is back near Ground Zero on North End Avenue, three blocks from its original home. The new, 65,000-square-foot site has 13 trading pits--the same as 4 World Trade Center--and houses 600 brokers with another 600 support staff.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Nybot moved its operations to a SunGard backup and recovery facility across the East River in Long Island City, Queens. It was the only Manhattan exchange to operate a backup trading floor at that time.

Ten months later, Nybot opened a second location on Broadway in lower Manhattan, close to the World Trade Center site. "We figured, why do this again?" says Patrick Gambaro, Nybot's chief operating officer.

By adding a second Manhattan facility, Nybot implemented a triangulation strategy where the Broadway and Long Island City operations are processing sites for work done at the primary North End Avenue facility. Data travels simultaneously to Broadway and Long Island City. Nybot also spent $10 million expanding the trading floor and adding more offices at the Long Island City backup facility

Today, Nybot is in constant contact with government agencies and with businesses that own critical infrastructure. In addition, Gambaro asked Nybot CIO Steve Bass to join the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Homeland Security. That's a network of financial-services industry groups that works with the government and regulators to prepare and respond jointly to events that could disrupt business.

Gambaro and Bass also hit the road following Sept. 11 to speak with businesses about continuity and disaster-recovery planning. Many companies "woke up" quickly after Sept. 11, and money was no object for the next six months, Gambaro says, but this initial enthusiasm has waned.

"It's hard to get full cooperation," he says. "It's also difficult for people to stop the presses and do disaster-recovery testing. It has to do with the priorities they set."

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