Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Central Information Technology Office (CITO), Michael duQuesnay, is urging both public and private sector organizations to include disaster preparedness measures in their overall strategic plans, in light of the recent disasters that have occurred locally and internationally. Mr. duQuesnay made the call while addressing executives and decision makers from both the public and private sectors who attended a ‘Sponsors Breakfast’, hosted by CITO on January 24 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
According to the CEO, it was critical for organizations to put disaster preparedness plans in place as it would determine the rate at which they operated during and after a disaster. Pointing specifically to the issue of information communication technology (ICT) and its impact on business, he emphasized that organizations should ensure that measures specifically geared toward protecting their ICT systems were put in place, in order to ensure their safety, in the event of a disaster. “We think that ICT and disaster preparedness and management are fundamental, as more and more technology is embedded in everything that we do and in this particular circumstance, it is embedded in the business processes that has to be brought back or kept going when we have an unexpected event,” he said.
In this regard, Mr. duQuesnay informed that CITO’s 3rd Regional Summit, slated to be held from May 9 to 11 at the Jamaica Pegasus, will be held under the theme: “Utilizing Information Communication Technology in Disaster Preparedness and Management”. “We think this is a very topical theme as was evident in the number of disasters that took place last year and there is no reason to think that this year is going to be different,” the CEO said. “In addition,” he noted, “we are entering a new era where being ready for the unexpected is becoming more and more important.and our businesses are sensitive to the changes that take place in the external environment, so that readiness is critical”. Mr. duQuesnay pointed out that the main objective of the Summit was to educate persons at all levels, so all should capitalize on the opportunity and attend. “The objective of the exercise is to educate, and not to sell and so when you come to any of the presentation sessions on any of the days, you won’t be hearing any sales pitches, you will be hearing about the business factors which underline decisions you need to take [in order] to deploy ICT,” he emphasized.
The first day of the Summit will be designed for executives and key decision makers of organizations; the second day will be tailored for technical leaders, such as information technology managers, and will involve a number of presentations that will be held throughout the day. The final day, which will take the form of a workshop to be hosted by the Jamaica Computer Society, will target implementers of ICT, such as systems administrators and project managers. Last year’s Summit focused on the use of wireless technologies in organizations.
Underscoring Mr. duQuesnay’s emphasis on the importance of disaster preparedness, President of the Jamaica Computer Society, Herman Athias, said that disaster preparedness must be an integral aspect of business plans. “Globally, we have organizations that are not focusing on what I consider to be a very important aspect of running a business on a day to day basis.so together, CITO and the JCS are putting together a comprehensive programme that will look at both the business and technology issues associated with disaster preparedness and business continuity, [and] this is not just for big businesses, this is for small and medium sized companies,” he said.
Some sponsors already on board for this year’s Summit are, Annbel Limited, Digicel, Citrix, Fugitsu, International Business Machines (IBM), Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB), Illuminat Jamaica, Moore Tech, National Commercial Bank (NCB), the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Spatial Innovation and the Spectrum Management Authority.
The breakfast was held by CITO to explain to sponsors and prospective sponsors, the format of the upcoming Summit. Prospective sponsors may fill slots in any of the four categories, which comprise platinum, gold, sliver and ‘other’ sponsors. Companies interested in becoming involved in the Summit can call CITO at 968-6801 or visit the organization’s website at www.cito.gov.jm for further information.