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Research Reveals Avian Flu Outbreak in UK Catching Financial Services Firms Offguard

  • 16 February, 2007 16:33

<p>New research from Mitel®, the trusted provider of IP communications solutions, has revealed that over half (52%) of financial services firms with offices in London have no plans in place to deal with the outbreak of a pandemic.</p>
<p>The research will come as a serious wake up call to the financial services sector given the recent outbreak of avian flu in the Suffolk region of the United Kingdom. This latest chapter in the ongoing threat from avian flu highlights the real need to be prepared should a pandemic hit the UK. Not only will this pose a serious threat to the health of residents, it also threatens the financial stability of the country.</p>
<p>The research was carried out by DataMonitor Research, on behalf of Mitel in January 2007. The research used a sample of 100 Senior IT Directors of 100 Financial Services Companies with offices in London.</p>
<p>While prepared for more commonplace hazards in the office environment, such as fire, which 80% per cent of the businesses surveyed have planned for, it seems they are less prepared for others.</p>
<p>When it comes to IT systems for example, the backbone of financial services businesses - due to the huge quantities of financial information at risk, over a third (36%) confess to not planning for a major failure. While 44 per cent have not planned how they would operate in the event of their normal working site being unavailable.</p>
<p>However, there is a divide in the financial services sector as to those who are more organised than others. While over eight in 10 (85%) corporate banking firms are confident they have plans in place in the event of their normal working site being unavailable, city traders and brokers are the worst prepared with 45 per cent not clear on how they would work if their site was shut down.</p>
<p>Brokers and traders are also the least prepared in the financial services sector for the risk from fire (55%) and threat of terrorist attacks (50%). This is surprising given the high stakes involved on the trading floor where fortunes can change dramatically in a matter of minutes. Being out of action, even for a couple of hours, due to an unforeseen emergency, could have a significant impact on a firms’ bottom line.</p>
<p>Ian Bevington, vertical marketing specialist at Mitel, said: “Whilst financial services organisations are amongst the best prepared, this research suggests that their plans have not been developed to cover the increasing threat of terrorism and a pandemic. This should be a high priority for businesses in all sectors, and the importance of having sound business continuity plans in place should not be underestimated.</p>
<p>“The majority of financial services organisations are not fully exploiting the wealth of technology now available to support remote and flexible working. It is crucial to invest in a sound IT infrastructure so that employees can continue to work in the best possible way in the event of a disaster and minimise the impact on productivity and profitability.”</p>
<p>About Mitel
Mitel is a leading provider of unified communications solutions and services for business customers. Mitel's voice-centric IP-based communications solutions consist of a combination of telephony hardware and software that integrate voice, video and data communications with business applications and processes. These solutions enable customers to realize significant cost benefits and to conduct business more efficiently and effectively by enabling enhanced communications, information sharing and collaboration within a business and with customers, partners and suppliers. Mitel is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, with offices, partners and resellers worldwide. For more information, visit www.mitel.com.</p>
<p>Media Contact
Sebastian Rice,
Silverspan, 02 9959 1991, seb@silverspan.com,
www.silverspan.com</p>

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