Dealing with security threats ranging from terrorist attack and IT breaches to the activities of pressure groups, was the focus of a financial services security seminar, organised by Reliance Security Services. The seminar called on financial organisations to develop Contingency Plans which not only back up their business, but also introduce measures to ensure business continuity. The conference heard that financial organisations must implement procedures to ensure that customer service is maintained in the event of business interruption. For an investment bank, it is vital that people can start work again with the same telephone number and a screen in front of them within four hours of an event.
The three key areas vital to contingency planning for a financial institution were described as: establishing lines of communication, defining roles and responsibilities and ensuring that the right people are made responsible for the actions required. In terms of communication, establishing a chain of command that ensures everyone knows who to get in touch with, and defining the communications media is crucial. All possibilities for staying in touch should be explored, from a dedicated audio paging system to mobile phones or a bespoke radio system.
It is also vital for financial organisations to pre-determine who is responsible for what actions in the event of a disaster/business failure. Managers across the various functions within a financial institution should talk to each other and gain a better understanding of each other's roles.