Bunker grows to meet security demands

Much of the space at computer consultants and software developers AL Digital’s first site in Kent was snapped up just days after the 11 September attacks in the US, has learnt.

Al Digital directors, Ben and Adam Laurie and Dominic Hawkin, had originally planned to open a second site within the next two or three years, but recent events have forced them to bring forward their plans.

Hawkin told ‘A major trading exchange has come down. It brought forward its timescales and is now up and running down there.’

The 50,000 sq ft site is now 40% full with expectations of total capacity to be filled by early next year.

Hawkin said: ‘Increased demand has caused us to move our timetable forward. The Other Bunker needs to be open for business sooner than we planned.’

Bought for an undisclosed sum and based in the northeast of London, the Other Bunker, as it is now known, is expected to be up and running by spring 2002, but must be refitted before any computer system can be moved in.

Both Bunkers are designed to withstand chemical and biological warfare and are the ultimate protection against attacks including crackers, terrorists, electro-magnetic pulse and electronic eavesdropping.

Computer systems of numerous large accountancy firms as well as Sun Microsystems, Scottish Widows and BTCellnet figure among those companies already installed in The Bunker’s hermetically sealed bespoke rooms 300ft below ground level.

Despite a diverse array of companies, from banking to e-commerce websites, with servers located at The Bunker, Hawkin said most dealt with financial or medical information.

Access to the Bunker’s central core is restricted to its security team. And with 24 hour on-site security combined with realtime electronic monitoring of all network activity it claims to be the UK’s safest place for data storage.

The growing threat of physical attack or theft of computer systems has spured on companies to look for alternative safe havens.

Dr Ian Angell, professor of information systems at the London School of Economics, said the Bunker was just one part of the growing mobile network.

‘It is not just terrorists that companies should be worried about. The biggest threat is anti-capitalists. They aren’t going to go away. They’ve seen the hysteria and how capitalists go weak at the knees.

‘Senior managers will become more mobile and a lot less visible,’ Angell predicted.


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