Business continuity plans keep London working

A number of businesses evoked their business continuity plans following the terrorist attacks in London on Thursday (7 July 2005).

A number of businesses evoked their business continuity plans following the terrorist attacks in London on Thursday (7 July 2005).

Telecoms networks bore the initial strain with the government imposing its Access Overload Control plan which shut down parts of the phone network and allowed priority for emergency services.

Steve Mellish, head of business continuity at Sainsbury’s, and chairman of the Business Continuity Institute, said the retailer’s business continuity team sprang into action to oversee business operations. 

“Text messaging was more effective for the continuity team, and our staff freephone number worked very effectively. Staff had the numbers on business continuity cards – and information was updated throughout the day. Our IT was unaffected because it is outside central London,” said Mellish. 

In the City, the London Stock Exchange said it evacuated some staff, and some orders were deleted, but the trading system carried on going without any technical problems.

London Clearing House, LCH.Clearnet, was evacuated and operations resumed at an alternative site, after the series of explosions on the London transport network.

Some financial firms, including Swiss banking giant UBS, evacuated their City buildings and switched operations abroad, with no impact on trading.

Other City banks including Goldman Sachs, including JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch said the blasts had no impact on their business.

Lorraine Darke, a spokeswoman for the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), said the institute’s members “are out there working flat out, and have not reported back. The only problems people have experienced have been with pagers and mobiles”.

NISCC, the National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre – the government organisation responsible for minimising the risk of electronic attack to the UK's Critical National Infrastructure – said, “Following [Thurdsday’s] incidents in London, operators of the electronic systems in the Critical National Infrastructure are being advised to maintain their standard security procedures. The threat of electronic attack remains unchanged, but NISCC continues to monitor the situation.” 

Security company MessageLabs said e-mail traffic had doubled in Europe an hour after the attacks. The number of e-mails it monitors for its customer increased from 500,000 legitimate e-mails to one million.

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