Companies – especially those engaged in critical infrastructure – must prepare detailed plans for continued operation following a crisis that diminishes their ability to function. Staffing, physical infrastructure and information systems are at risk in such scenarios.
AEP’s business continuity program is a partnership between our corporate business continuity team, business units and other support organizations. Together, we build plans to allow for an effective recovery effort in the event of a disaster. The plans are designed to minimize business disruptions by decreasing response times, limiting financial impacts and maintaining customer confidence during a business interruption. We employ many types of planning, including:
- Recovery of critical business processes such as staffing, alternate work locations, and essential tasks.
- Recovery of information systems and technologies required to support critical business processes following a disaster.
- Crisis management planning for command, control, coordination and communication as we respond to a crisis, emergency or major disruptive incident that affects AEP locations, staff or stakeholders.
This planning process was critical following a series of underground distribution network disruptions in 2014 that exposed risks to the security and availability of our data and IT infrastructure, and raised our awareness of the need to be ready for new risks in the future. We view business continuity in terms of risk, resiliency and response, and we plan accordingly.
In addition to launching a four-year plan to upgrade and enhance AEP’s 16 underground distribution networks, we built a new Tier III data center that came online in 2015. Tier III data centers are important because they do not require shutdowns for equipment replacement and maintenance. In April 2016, AEP was recognized by Data Center Dynamics (DCD) as a winner of the 2016 DCD U.S. & Canada Awards for innovation and leadership in the development of the new data center.
Plans are under way for another data center to reinforce our disaster recovery efforts in the unlikely event that a regional disaster would occur, giving us redundancies that are critical when in recovery mode.