Disaster planning paid off for Wall Street’s financial networks in the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster. With redundant systems and quick response procedures, both Radianz and Global Crossing Ltd. got their customers up and running quickly.
Radianz has a policy of having at least two different connections to each customer, said CTO Brennan Carley. Radianz, which is owned by Reuters and Amsterdam-based Equant, manages RadianzNet, an IP network that connects financial institutions. “The network stayed up,” Carley said. “The resilience we engineered into the network proved to work.”
Radianz had three locations in Manhattan, one in the World Trade Center. All staffers at that location escaped safely, but Radianz lost two employees who were at the RiskWaters conference, Carley said.
However, while the network continued to function, that’s just one half of the equation. “We had customers in the World Trade Center and the immediate area and those locations are down and cannot be recovered,” Carley said. “As those customers relocate to new facilities, we’re establishing connections to those facilities.”
After making sure that all customers are up and running, the next step of the recovery process is to restore the network’s resilience. When customers only have one connection to RadianzNet, there’s always the risk that that connection will go down, said Carley. So, after taking care of all immediate problems, the company will work to restore a second connection to all its customers.
Planning also paid for Global Crossing. “We had our emergency operations center up and running in less than an hour,” said Global Crossing spokeswoman Cynthia Artin. It was a full-out effort, she said. Employees put in 12- and 14-hour shifts with teams working around the clock.
Global Crossing, a provider of services to the financial community that includes voice, private lines, data services, as well as market information news, had four facilities in the disaster area. A location on Church Street was the most affected, with dust getting into the equipment. There was a voice switch at that location which the company rerouted to a Hudson Street facility.
Although the company only sustained physical damage at one facility, all were affected when the power went out. “We were able to remain on generator power but we were not able to get in and access the generators, so those generators went out and we were without power at one of those facilities, the one that we operate the financial networks out of,” Artin said. It took a day to secure permission for a team of technicians to enter the facility and get another generator up and running, she said.
All the services that were operated out of that facility were affected. “It didn’t have a huge impact on our customers because no one was trading at that point,” Artin said. “But we continued to support our other customers out of our London operation centers. Just because the NYSE is closed doesn’t mean that there aren’t other commodities and currencies traded in other places. The bond market, for example, reopened much more quickly.”
All critical systems were up and running on Monday when the stock exchanges reopened, she said, but there were remaining issues with power and communications.
“We’re getting specific connectivity into specific clients,” she said. “We also have helped rebuild trading floors, are working with customers to set up offices in locations throughout the metro area, and are adding new services to customers when their existing providers were not able to do so.”