Is your Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity up to Snuff?
Posted by Mr. Michael Salyer, IT Analyst, Credit Union Resources, Inc on 12/12/2017

Is your credit union ready for a disaster? Is your disaster recovery plan (DRP) up to date? Are employees properly trained in its execution? Has it been tested? Does your business continuity plan (BCP) meet your credit union’s growing needs? If the answer to any of these questions is, “No,” or “I’m not sure,” then it is time revisit DRP/BCP now, before it is too late.

First let’s discuss the difference between a disaster recovery plan and a business continuity plan. Business continuity refers to plans about how your credit union should plan for continuing in case of a disaster. Disaster recovery refers to how your branches should recover in case of a disaster. Basically, a BCP tells your credit union the detailed steps to be taken to continue its key products and services, while a DRP tells your credit union the detailed steps to be taken to recover post disaster.

Some credit unions in the Gulf Coast area had a rude awakening in August when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and caused massive and wide spread devastation. At last count, at least six credit unions in Southern California were forced to close some of their branches due to the raging wild fires currently out of control in the region. Both events caught some credit unions off guard and tested how well they were ready for disasters of this magnitude.

Having worked with several credit union’s affected by Hurricane Harvey, one thing became clear. Although their facilities suffered little or no damage, most of them were not ready for so many employees unable to make it to work. Excessive road flooding made travel in the Houston area extremely difficult, if not impossible. Their business continuity plans didn’t foresee having to run on a skeleton crew for such an extended period. Even their disaster recovery plans wouldn’t have been able to have been enacted due to IT personnel unable to make it in.

Although there is no way to predict and prepare for every emergency, proper planning is essential to mitigate the effects. First, ensure that your plans are up to date, including any new technology, services, or facilities. Make sure ALL employees are trained on the plan. Someone who wasn’t trained on the plan might be one of the few employees who was able to make it in to work. Be creative and use tabletop scenarios to run through a multitude of “what ifs”.  Finally, test your plan. The most robust DRP/BCP plans in the world will be useless if it fails at step one.

Categories: Technology Consulting & Compliance
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