Continuity plans kick in as blasts rock London

A number of businesses invoked their business continuity plans following the terrorist attacks in London last Thursday.

A number of businesses invoked their business continuity plans following the terrorist attacks in London last Thursday.

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 free phone numbers for staff worked very effectively. Employees had the numbers  on business continuity cards Ð and information was updated throughout the day. Our IT was unaffected because it is outside central London,” he said.  

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

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.

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

Lorraine Darke, membership services director at the Business Continuity Institute, said, “The only problems people have experienced have been with pagers and mobiles.”

The National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre, the government organisation responsible for minimising the risk of electronic attack on the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure, said, “Following Thursday’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 the National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre 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 monitored for its customers grew from 500,000 legitimate e-mails to one million messages. 

Keep on running >>

The safety chain >>

Read more on IT risk management