Ahh, disaster recovery. For credit unions, it’s a must. Why? Well, imagine what would happen if lightning struck half your branches. What would you do?
Okay, maybe that’s not the best example. Lightning strikes—especially simultaneous lightning strikes—aren’t exactly common. Still, many things are common. Worse, some bad things are becoming increasingly common.
Have you ever worried about wildfires, tornadoes, or earthquakes? How about hurricanes, power outages, or chemical spills? We could go on, but by now, you’ve probably gotten the point: credit union disaster recovery is important.
It’s Not Just a Good Idea—It’s the Law!
Disaster recovery plans are important for being able to restore operations when things go wrong. Plus, the NCUA wants you to have a disaster recovery plan.
Your members will thank you, too. If you’re serious about meeting their needs, then you must plan for the worst. If you don’t, how can you help them when they need you most?
So, where do you get started?
1. Test Your Core
Can your core handle a disaster? If not, then what’s the use in anything else working? If it’s your first time testing your disaster recovery, start with the core.
In any credit union disaster recovery scenario, you must ensure that you can continue operating. It’s a nice thought, being there for your members in an emergency. Being able to handle their banking needs is an even nicer thought.
2. Test Your Connectivity
Okay, now that you’ve got your core figured out, it’s time to make sure you can use it. Can you connect to it? How’s your third-party connectivity?
Connectivity is another year-one concern. Don’t put this off!
3. Test Supporting Systems
There’s no reason to test the core and connectivity over and over. At some point, you have to check on all your other systems.
Start by determining which of your supporting systems are most critical. Your most critical systems are the ones that you would need to bring up before your other peripheral systems.
Testing supporting systems is a year-two concern.
4. Test Your Business Processes
Also in your second year, you should test your critical businesses processes. Make sure end-users are trained on how to handle your credit union’s disaster recovery plan.
You may want to try out testing in an offsite location, or even from home. You can’t be sure that you’ll have your usual facilities in the event of a disaster.
Testing businesses processes also falls under the business continuity planning (BCP) umbrella. That’s okay—there’s a little overlap.
5. Test Third-Party Connectivity
The last major consideration for your second year of disaster recovery testing is third-party connectivity. Once you know your core is operational and connected, it’s time to see what else you can maintain access to.
6. Full Production Test
By the third year, you’ll want to run a full production test. Fail over to your backup servers on a weekend. Make sure you can run production from that environment.
Then, let it run for a week. Make sure everything is running and that connections are solid.
When you’ve successfully completed this step, then you’ll know that your credit union is truly prepared for disaster recovery.