Public and Private Sectors Must Work Together to Protect U.S. Technology Infrastructure, Accenture Tells Subcommittee

Senate Hearing Seeks Recommendations for Terrorism Preparedness

Washington, D.C., December 5, 2001 – Significantly greater coordination between the government and private industry is required to adequately protect the nation’s technology and communications infrastructure from future terrorist attacks, an Accenture official today told members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space.

Planning for the unthinkable must become the new baseline, and while the nation’s technology infrastructure is a potential target, it also is a powerful weapon to use in identifying, mitigating and avoiding exposure to hostile intent or acts of terrorism, advised Stephen Rohleder, managing partner for Accenture’s USA Government market unit. He warned that while managing for security, organizations must not lose the focus on innovation.

“Investments in new, secure, high-speed networks and digital content management systems have the potential to create safe, virtual workplaces, provide network redundancy and ultimately could stimulate the technology economy,” said Rohleder. “As business and government leaders, we can stand united to take the best we have to offer to secure this nation’s infrastructure and to lead with innovation.”

Stressing the need for strong partnership between the public and private sectors, Rohleder said the Office of Homeland Security can play an integral role in bringing the sectors together to provide continuity planning and enhance cyber-security, while also serving as the “home” for public-private information sharing. To minimize the disruption of future attacks to the nation’s economy, he said, both government and industry must plan for:

  • Initiating immediate recovery at a moment’s notice – anticipating the loss of facilities as well as the need to recover software systems
  • Establishing temporary operations to avoid scrambling to identify a location to resume operations during a crisis
  • Determining permanent operating facilities, including geographic concentration and dispersal of employees
  • Embracing the virtual workplace, by enabling information technologies such as instant messaging, groupware, e-mail and Web conferencing 

Rohleder also suggested that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) tap all available information technology resources in crisis situations through special contract arrangements with the private sector.

Accenture previously has made several recommendations to the Office of Homeland Security, such as applying technology to enable secure, real-time interagency communication between law enforcement agencies.

Immediately following the events of Sept. 11, the office of NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani requested Accenture’s help in establishing a Family Assistance Center to serve as the one-stop primary resource center for relatives and friends of those missing since the disaster – as well as those who lost jobs or homes. In less than 72 hours, Accenture employees worked with city and relief agencies to transform a barren warehouse in Manhattan to a fully functioning facility, which more than 60,000 families have visited since it opened.

About Accenture
Accenture is the world’s leading management and technology consulting organization. Through its network of businesses approach - in which the company enhances its consulting and outsourcing expertise through alliances, ventures and other capabilities - Accenture delivers innovations that help clients across all industries quickly realize their visions. With more than 75,000 people in 47 countries, the company generated net revenues of $11.44 billion for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2001. Its home page is