The OGO Blog

Credit Union Business Continuity Planning vs. Disaster Recovery: What’s the Difference?

From natural disasters to power outages, credit unions face numerous operational threats daily. There are two strategies that help credit unions keep their doors and services open to their members. These critical strategies are business continuity planning and disaster recovery. So, what’s the difference between the two?

Well, the two are very closely related. You might say that both roads go to the same place, which is a fully-functioning credit union. While on the surface, this might make them seem hard to differentiate, they are in fact rather easy to tell apart. The best way we can explain it is by analyzing a particular disaster scenario and then seeing how both business continuity planning and disaster recovery tackle the resulting problems.

Fun with Hypotheticals

On our blog, we’ve talked a little about natural disasters and how to prepare for them. Things like storms, fires, and earthquakes are significant threats in their own right. However, we’ll switch things up a bit, just to keep things fun.

In this blog, we’d like to speak a little about an unnatural disaster: dragon attacks. Dragons are notoriously fond of wealth, which they hoard and manage—we think—rather ineffectively. Nevertheless, they’re exactly the sort of monster that would attack a financial institution in search of riches.

Dragon Attacks Credit Union: Business Continuity Plan Time!

In today’s disaster scenario, a dragon has laid waste to a credit union branch to get gold (or what-have-you).

The dragon’s massive wings have toppled nearby data and communications lines, and its fiery breath has burnt some of the interior of the bank to a medium-well crisp. Several employees are injured, but none (thankfully) are mortally wounded. Fortunately, this particular credit union has a solid business continuity plan and disaster recovery plan.

The business continuity plan is in place to ensure that credit union members can continue banking. The credit union’s business continuity plan lets members:

  • Access accounts
  • Apply for loans
  • Speak with staff to make plans for their financial future.
  • Pay bills without issue
  • Withdraw money
  • Use debit and credit cards
  • Avoid potential hazards or inconveniences (like being eaten by a dragon)

The credit union’s business continuity plan focuses on ways to keep data and operations running even when faced with an interruption.

The business continuity plan includes ways to get in touch with all employees so that they remain appropriately staffed, that there’s a safe way of continuing operations in the building. If the building is destroyed, the business continuity plan designates another, safer, offsite building that can serve member needs.

A credit union’s business continuity plan requires that information and data have been appropriately backed up and tested so that members can access it, and that the doors stay open for business.

Dragon Attacks Credit Union: Disaster Recovery Edition!

On the other side of the coin, the primary focus of disaster recovery is on the branch itself: its facilities, data, network, and so on are taken care of so that it can function as normal. The burnt facilities and the downed data and communications lines are problems that disaster recovery looks to address.

Credit union disaster recovery should address:

  • Facility integrity
  • Backup data and information validity
  • Network connectivity
  • IT stability
  • Disaster communication, staffing, and support
  • Alerting members to potential hazards or inconveniences (like being eaten by a dragon)

But wait! There’s overlap! The barbecued facilities and some of the data management fall under the auspices of both business continuity planning and disaster recovery! That’s true. The two are interrelated, and both have very similar goals in mind.

The Difference Between Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery

The primary difference between the two is that business continuity planning favors operations and taking care of the credit union members, whereas disaster recovery favors rebuilding and reestablishing working data and facilities.

Realistically speaking, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever have to deal with a dragon attack. Unfortunately, earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, pandemics, and other myriad natural disasters still loom. In such events, it’s smart to consider both business continuity plans and disaster recovery scenarios to keep everything running smoothly.

Safeguarding Your Credit Union

Dragons are majestic, horrible creatures. Like most disasters and “real” threats, dragons don’t care about the effect they have on your credit union or its members.

However, credit unions have a variety of useful tools to help them prepare for disasters and other interruptions to service. If you’d like to learn more about credit unions, business continuity planning, disaster recovery, and other tools to stay fully operational no matter what, follow the links below.

Or, if you’re feeling particularly brave, grab a sword and sign up to receive our weekly newsletter. Actually, maybe grab your pen. The pen is mightier, after all.

Want to know more about business continuity vs. disaster recovery?

Business Continuity Planning

Are the NCUA Business Continuity Planning Requirements Sufficient for Your Credit Union?

Disaster Recovery Planning: How Should I Backup my Servers?