Reviewed Your Disaster Plan Lately?
Recent events have pushed disaster recovery and business continuity planning to the forefront in the eyes of senior management and regulatory bodies. By now, every financial institution has some form of disaster plan. Lets be honest though, how often do we take those plans off the shelf and review them for current situations, changes of systems, personnel, additional locations?
The Many Faces of Disaster
In reviewing disaster plans we often find that the plan covers everyone’s concept of a disaster; fire, tornado, flood. A disaster can take many other forms that may not even damage your brick and mortar. For example, a chemical spill could force the evacuation of several square blocks forcing you to move your daily operations for some time while clean up takes place. Do you have an alternate site and does your staff know to go there? If you are unable to enter your premises does your alternate site have the required hardware and connectivity to your service provider or backup system? Does it have a current supply of required forms to continue to do business for your customers or members?
Access to Vendor Information
Another critical (but often overlooked) element of a disaster plan, , is a complete directory of your vendors for all aspects of your operation. Should an unfortunate incident force your staff or replacements to pick up the pieces, will they know who to contact for critical systems, forms, supplies and insurances? Is there a call tree in the event you need to communicate to all your staff quickly. Does your staff have a current copy of your plan at home to determine their next steps?
Testing Your Plan
When was the last time your plan was tested? Your Board of Directors will be asked by the regulators at some point if the plan has been reviewed, tested and the results documented for review and approval or remediation. It is a good idea to have the board’s review of your plan contained in the meeting minutes. As mentioned earlier, recent events such as the tornados and flooding in the mid-west will once again bring this to everyone’s attention.
The FCS Advantage
No one can plan for every conceivable situation; even now regulators are asking service providers to create disaster/business continuity plans for bird flu and other pan endemics. Financial Core Strategies can review your current plans and recommend ways to strengthen those plans on a periodic basis to help you remain as ready as possible in the event of a business interruption.