The OGO Blog

3 Tips for Credit Union Disaster Recovery Planning

Disaster recovery planning for credit unions ongoing operations

Credit union disaster recovery planning is about as exciting as growing turnips. However, disaster recovery plans are absolutely essential. Without them, a hurricane, fire, earthquake, or other disaster could destroy your credit union’s data and ability to function.

We’ve noticed a few common credit union disaster recovery mistakes in our dozen years of consulting. We hope they help you develop better disaster recovery plans, but we also hope you never have to use them.

Too often in disaster recover scenarios, we find that credit unions have failed to consider substantial threats.

1.   Rethink Your Definition of Disaster

There are many kinds of disasters in the world. One the one hand, there’s wearing white after Labor Day; on the other, there are extinction-level events like giant meteors.

While your credit union won’t have to recover from either of those disasters for obvious reasons, it may have to recover from a disaster that sits somewhere in the middle. Too often in disaster recover scenarios, we find that credit unions have failed to consider substantial threats.

Some common disasters credit unions prepare for include:

  • Hurricanes
  • Fires
  • Floods
  • Tornados
  • Earthquakes

The natural disasters above can’t exactly be prevented. However, you can takenoticeable steps to mitigate the damage they do.

Not all disasters are natural, though. Other massive interruptions to operations can come in less-predictable or obvious forms, such as:

  • Pandemic
  • Terrorism
  • Computer viruses
  • System failure
  • Zombie outbreak

While certain disasters are more likely than others, it’s best to consider as many as you can when planning for recovery. Credit unions who don’t consider all possible disasters are less likely to prepare adequately for when certain senarios strike.

2.    Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan

One of the biggest mistakes that we see credit unions make with their disaster recovery planning is not testing it. Unfortunately, far more things work in theory than do in practice. One of the best ways to ensure your credit union disaster recovery plan goes well is to try it out. Click here for a list of possible scenarios.

Testing your disaster recovery plan may reveal a few things. First, it may show you which areas need more work. Second, it can show you where you’re doing well. Third, it will help familiarize all necessary employees with disaster recovery practices.

Also, practice makes perfect. Or at least practice makes pretty good. It’s tough to be perfect during an actual disaster scenario.

3.   Reevaluate the Brick and Mortar Facility

In the past, many credit unions stored data in their most remote branch or facility. Maybe they would add a redundant circuit to improve connectivity. It was good enough at the time.

However, with the advent of cloud computing, brick-and-mortar facilities no longer offer the most security. Larger disasters that affect whole regions can render redundant connections and data centers moot.

Redundancy is key for data safety. Cloud storage works wonders, but if you’re sticking with the brick-and-mortar option, then you should find ways to copy it and replicate it elsewhere. Ensuring uninterrupted access to your data is critical for disaster recovery.

Stay Safe Out There

We hope you never have to fight against the forces of nature and entropy, but if you do, we’ like to know you’re prepared. The above three tips are a great start to your credit union disaster recovery planning. If you’d like to learn more about what you can do to protect your credit union and its members from catastrophic events, click here for related content

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