The crash of the trading system at the Tokyo Stock Exchange because of a software problem offers a timely reminder that disaster recovery and business continuity planning are essential not simply because of the more sensational incidents such as terrorist attacks, fires or bird flu.
The understandable recent focus on external threats could prove short-sighted if it encourages organisations to believe that they are less at risk than they actually are. Many companies for whom disaster recovery and business continuity facilities seem like an expensive luxury may be forgiven for thinking along the lines of "Well, we are hardly a terrorist target, so why the fuss?"
However, as our case study of the London Stock Exchange computer crash of 2000 and the lessons learned from it demonstrates, disaster often strikes from an unusual direction, or as the result of an aggregation of smaller problems.
As the London Stock Exchange's former IT director points out, "However much you spend on things like fault tolerance, a combination of events can bring your systems down - and you can't predict what they might be." It is good that the London Stock Exchange is confident that its trading platform is robust and that it has a "very comprehensive" business continuity strategy.
But the lessons of the 2000 crash and of the Tokyo incident are that all organisations must prepare not only for external threats but for problems that arise as part of day-to-day business.