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Recovery firms come to the rescue

Bill Goodwin
Disaster recovery companies kicked into action last week as anxious businesses, faced with the loss of computer networks, phone and fax links, invoked their business continuity plans.

ICM, which runs two emergency recovery centres in Manchester, was put on standby early on Tuesday morning by six businesses worried about the financial impact of the BT tunnel fire.

By Tuesday evening, the firm had provided emergency office space and communication links for 230 staff in four companies based in Manchester, Sale and Stockport.

Schlumberger said the fire ranked among the top five disasters in the past five years because of the number of businesses affected. The company had calls from 10 businesses in the North West asking for help to recover links to datacentres and phone lines, including one company 100 miles outside of Manchester.

"We got our first calls within minutes. Because we have staff at Leeds and Warrington, they were able to get companies up and running in a matter of hours," said John Kersley, Schlumberger vice-president for business continuity.

The affected companies relocated their staff to the Warrington and Leeds centres, and to a centre in Hoddestone, 15 miles north of London.

Schlumberger arranged emergency deliveries of routers to link the emergency offices with the businesses' in-house computer systems.

IBM, which has disaster recovery sites in Manchester, Warwick and Greenwood, said it provided support services to several companies that had lost data and communications links.

Emergency mobile phone supplier Cellhire said it was inundated with demand for back-up mobile phones from businesses affected by the outage.

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