Criticall eNews Heading: May 2007

a BCP crisis?

You don't have to look very far to see the effects on the US subprime mortgage crisis on the World's share-markets but what has the effect been on the real economy?

Not only has the meltdown led to the

Stock Market Figures
Wall Street Sign bankruptcy of dozens of US mortgage firms, but the effects have spilled over into the broader economy with the disruption of many multi £bn deals in light of the current volatility in the debt market.

Companies outside of the banking sector including Carphone Warehouse, Cadbury Schweppes and Virgin Media were among those forced to delay deals until the market is more stable.

In a survey by National Association of Business Economics (US) subprime and other credit problems have surpassed terrorism as the most significant short-term threat to the economy.
In this issue:
Subprime: a BCP crisis?
Biosecurity: Foot & Mouth
Climate Threat Facts
SkypeOut... Out
60 Second Survey
East Coast Trains: Free Wi-Fi
Flu Jabs for every Briton
Lords eCrime Report
Criticall Comment
Resource Corner

Related links
List of Closed Lenders
Debt crisis tops terror threat
National Association of Business Economics Survey

Foot & Mouth

Defra's swift and comprehensive response following the recent Foot and Mouth outbreak in Surrey saw many businesses Business Continuity Plans fly into full action.

Despite the limited size and geographical coverage of the outbreak, it was in fact aspects of Defra's contingency plan that saw the shock-waves felt the length and breadth of mainland Britain.

Foot & Mouth Warning Sign

Livestock movement bans and the meat export ban have threatened the survival of dozens of SME's. Many of these have already announced plans to lay-off staff.

Whilst some business chose to diversify after the 2001 outbreak to avoid a repeat of past losses, this wasn't a realistic option for other business.
HM Revenue and Customs are offering tax help to many business caught up in the fallout of this outbreak. This will come in the form of deferred collection, suspension of debt collection proceedings and, in some cases, release from interest and surcharges. HMRC have set up a Helpline which is open seven days a week on 0845 366 1207.

The previous outbreak of foot and Mouth in Great Britain cost the UK economy an estimated 38.5 billion.

Related links
Waverley Borough Council
HM Revenue and Customs
Sunday Herald

Climate Threat Facts

With environmental threats now high up on the agenda of most of your BC plans, we thought we'd put together a list of facts that might give the rest of you a little more incentive to get your BC plans up to date.

Dry River BedThis list of environmental facts and figures have all been chosen specifically for their potential to disrupt the normal business operations due to power and communications outages, staff displacement, supply chain disruption etc etc...

1. Since the advent of reliable geostationary satellite coverage in 1966 there have been 16 Category 5 hurricanes. Five of these (almost a third) were in the past 2 years.1

2. The Thames Barrier protects 400,000 properties, 26 Tube stations and 1.25 million city workers from flooding. It has been closed a total of 103 times in it's 25 years of operation. Over half of these closures occurred in the last 6 years.2

3. 10 of World's hottest years on record have occurred since 1994.3

4. Concurrent extreme weather:
Australia: worst drought in 1,000 years (2000-2007)4, United Kingdom: worst drought in 100 years (2006) followed by worst floods in 60 years (2007)5,
North Korea: worst floods in known history (2006)6, Arizona & New Mexico: worst drought in 500 years (2007)7, Japan: hottest day on record (2007)8, Hungary, Bulgaria: highest recorded temperatures (2007)9, Greece: Record electricity use due to heatwave (2007)10

5. According to the Scottish Continuity Group, the threat posed by international terrorism adds "a new dimension to the risks" of life in Scotland, however, "in business continuity terms, the greatest threat is undoubtedly natural disasters."11

1. Wikipedia
2. The Environment Agency
4. Reuters AlertNet
5. 24 Bash
6. Bloomberg
7. Billings Gazette
8. Times Online
9. Times Online
10. Forbes
11. Scottish Continuity Group

SkypeOut... Out

This month saw an unprecedented 2 day disruption to Skype's VoIP service. A Skype spokesperson said that large numbers of Windows users had installed a routine patch and restarted. The resulting, "flood of log-in requests, which, combined with the lack of peer-to-peer network resources, prompted a chain reaction that had a critical impact."

Far from blaming Microsoft, Skype cited an unknown glitch in it's
softwarepreventing the system from healing itself.

Microsoft has blamed the disruption on a bug in Skype's software.

In a rapidly growing industry, not all VoIP providers have managed the

skype logo
Skype Logosame market dominance as the eBay owned Skype. Last month, SunRocket closed it's doors whilst internet telephony pioneer Vonage Holdings Corp. continues to struggle financially and legally.

Skype currently has 220 million subscribers.

Related Links
Skype Heatbeat
Yahoo News
Boston Globe

60 Second Survey

From now on, the Criticall eNews Bulletin will include a 60 Second Survey on Business Continuity related issues. The results will then be made available on the website and will also published in the following eNews edition.

We are now a community of over 4000 Business Continuity professionals, so you joining in will make it truly representative.

To complete the 60 second survey, click here.
60 second survey webpage snapshot
In Other News:

Free Wi-Fi on East Coast Trains

As of December 9, all passengers on East Coast mainline services will be able to surf the net for free.

Man on train with Laptop

The current Wi-Fi service, which is free for first class commuters, will be rollled-out to include all carriages when operator National Express takes over the franchise from the current operator GNER.

National Express Logo

Related Links

National Express

People in city with mobile phoneCityware is a new Facebook tool that tracks encounters in the real world via Bluetooth mobile phones and a series of 'nodes' in various UK and US locations.

The University of Bath project, backed by Nokia, HP Labs and Vodafone, allows users to find out if any of the people they bump into regularly use Cityware and Facebook. If so, they can add that person to their Facebook friends list.

Eventually, Cityware is intended to initiate alerts between Facebook friends when they are in geographical proximity to one another.

Facebook Logo

Related Links
Bluetooth helps Facebook friends
Flu Jabs for every Briton

Vaccine LabIn a deal between the Department of Health and two pharmaceutical giants, everyone in the United Kingdom will be able to be vaccinated against pandemic flu.

In a £155m advance supply contract GlaxoSmithKline and Baxter were chosen for best meeting the scientific and technical criteria as well as offering value for money.

This brings the UK in line with other countries including France, Switzerland, Denmark and Iceland in getting, "on the front foot if a flu pandemic occurs," according to the health minister, Dawn Primarolo.

Although current not transmissible between humans, the H5N1 virus has already killed 192 people worldwide.

Related Links
Financial Times

Department of Health

Lords eCrime Report

A House of Lords report on internet security has criticised the government's approach to internet security saying, "You can't legislate for better internet security. But the government can put in place incentives for the private sector to up their game. And they can invest in better data protection and law enforcement".

Related Links
BBC News
Lords Report
Lords Report Front Page Criticall Comment

With the BSI-backed BS25999 standard for business continuity almost a year old, Criticall are making some key resources freely available to all Business Continuity Professionals.

These include the Free BC Plan Template (MS Word format), the Easy-Does-It Guide (PDF format) to completing your own BC Plan, plus the Free Business Impact Analysis and Risk Assessment template spreadsheet (Excel). If any of these are missing from your collection, contact us.

Resource Corner

Useful links and events for the business continuity professional.

Intellect Annual Charity Gold Tournament
September 25th, 2007

BS 25999-2 Launch Conference
September 25th/26th, 2007

Storage Expo 2007
October 17th/18th, 2007

BCI Symposium 2007
October 18th/19th, 2007
Societal Risk & Responsibility, Buncefield & Texas City
October 22nd, 2007

The Emergency Services Show 2007
November 28th-29th, 2007

The Emergency Planning Society
Intellect UK
The Business Continuity Institute
UK Resilience
Data Storage Expo
Continuity Forum
Continuity Shop
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