MessageOne adds storage to disaster recovery messaging

Users who sign up for a new Incident Collaboration Centre service from MessageOne will have shared access to storage and business continuity documents after a disaster.

MessageOne Inc. has added a new option to its AlertFind notification service that will allow access to storage systems and collaborative business continuity documents in the aftermath of a disaster.

AlertFind automates "phone tree" notification plans, contacting employees of a business at multiple phone numbers and email addresses to alert them to a disaster and send instructions. The new service, Incident Collaboration Center (ICC), adds access to off-site data storage or a managed repository of business continuity documents and messaging systems, such as email. Also included is a GUI that automates workflows and tracks collaborative recovery efforts and messages similar to project management software.

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"The 'people element' of disaster recovery is often overlooked," said Paul D'Arcy, vice president of marketing for MessageOne. "Disasters, like Hurricane Katrina, showed that disaster recovery (DR) processes that require people to be in the office aren't going to be effective."

Users have the option of accessing off-site storage through ICC, as well. MessageOne, primarily an email archiving service provider that offers hosted storage for email messages, said that o-ffsite storage not under its management can also be accessed by ICC.

"Bystanders" who are not a direct part of the disaster recovery process, but who want to be aware of what's going on, can also log in and view documents and messages through a Web-based portal.

Currently, the product is in limited release, at fewer than 10 organizations. One AlertFind user, Esurance Inc., plans to add the service for disaster recovery messaging, though it does not plan to connect ICC to its secondary data center storage. "We already have plans in place for access to off-site data," said C.J. Emery, benefits and compensation manager for Esurance Inc.

However, as a Web-based business with a widespread employee base of sales, customer service and field representatives scattered across the country, Emery said the ability to post documents, such as evacuation maps, hotel locations established as gathering sites and contact information, will be just as crucial in a disaster. "ICC will let us do more mass notification than AlertFind," he said. "When we need a response, we'll use AlertFind, but if we just want to send out a general message, we can do it more easily with ICC."

Users need not have MessageOne hosted storage to use ICC, but they do need to have AlertFind as a prerequisite for ICC. Though it is a module within AlertFind, ICC licenses are priced separately and at the same price as AlertFind licenses. D'Arcy said licenses cost about $2 per user per year, with a typical purchase coming to around $6,000. MessageOne plans to sell the service through the channel but has no partners to announce yet. SunGard, a MessageOne OEM, has added similar off-site messaging support for its email archiving service.

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