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Panel Ponders Preparedness

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Storage World Conference -- Earthquakes, hurricanes, and tape destruction were all on the agenda here this week as CIOs and IT managers discussed their plans for the unexpected, but only a handful, it appears, have taken precautions to deal with a possible Avian Flu epidemic.

Alex Chang, systems engineering supervisor at Newport Beach, Calif.-based Hoag Hospital, who took part in a disaster recovery panel, told Byte and Switch that the possible pandemic is on his technology radar. "We can operate remotely if Avian Flu hits," he said. "We need a minimum amount of people."

Chang has already built secure remote access to key hospital systems through the likes of VPN and Citrix technologies, enabling his staff to work from home in the event of a pandemic.

But Chang and another panelist, Charles Curtis, senior storage engineer of Houston, Texas-based Stewart Transaction Solutions may be in a minority. During the discussion, Curtis asked the audience whether they had made any specific plans for an Avian Flu outbreak. No hands were raised.

"By the time it happens, it's too late," warned the exec, whose firm has already made contingency plans for an outbreak. By the time it is on the news, he added, almost 70 percent of workers could be staying at home.

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