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This week Charlie discusses the recent terror attacks in France and what they mean to business continuity managers.

The terrorist attacks in France last week remind us, if we need a reminder, of the dangers and impact of a terrorist attack. The attack on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket were quite shocking and the large demonstrations in response to the attacks show the determination of the French, and other world leaders, that they will stand up to terrorists and the principle of freedom of speech.

What do these attacks mean to us as business continuity managers and what should we do in response to them?

I think the first response is that we have to recognise the changing terrorist threat. In the 80s and early 90s, the main terrorist threat came from Irish Republican groups (IRA). Their method of terrorism was not to kill as large a number of people as possible but to cause maximum disruption and damage, especially to the commercial life of the United Kingdom. Several large bombs in the centre of London caused massive amounts of damage but with a very low loss of life. The scenario that the business continuity manager was planning for was a disruptive bomb hoax or the loss of office space due to a terrorist bomb. Mass casualty events were not planned for as the Irish Republican terrorist mainly tried to minimise the number of casualties.

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