The IT department at insurance firm NIG Skandia was forced to declare a state of emergency when its phone system crashed after a fibre optic cable was severed.
The day long drama on 11 February started at the company's headquarters, when a mechanical digger cut through one of the main fibre optic cables just before 5pm. The building's external telephone link was severed and some of its data services were also affected.
When Bruce Medhurst, head of IT, realised the company's telecomm provider could not fix the problem immediately, he evoked the disaster recovery plan.
Seven IT staff had to work throughout the night and into the next afternoon. They activated an emergency third party site in Wapping, diverting data and voice traffic and relocating staff.
Medhurst said: "The data network did slow down a little under the extra burden, but the diversion was almost as easy as flicking a switch. The time was spent looking through the options to minimise disruption without affecting services to the outside world."
Reflecting that many smaller firms do not have disaster recovery plans, Medhurst said: "It wouldn't have ruined us but it would have been acutely embarrassing if we were isolated for the whole day."
For more stories see 24 February issue of Network News
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