Credit union business continuity planning has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic has changed the way we need to look at all our business continuity plans. Since the hurricane season for 2020 officially starts on June 1st and ends on November 30th, let’s consider the impact of the current pandemic. Most credit unions that could be impacted by hurricanes have a plan in place for business continuity should a hurricane disrupt their business. Credit union business continuity administrators might think that the hurricane plan prepared and tested in the past is sufficient. For the most part, it is, and the plans most likely include tasks like the ones listed below.
- Develop a plan to communicate with staff and their families
- Be aware of what your business insurance covers and what it does not
- If possible, move/elevate items (computers, printers, etc.) to safe storage areas
- Check the Credit Union grounds to ensure that all outside equipment is secure
- Determine which records, files, and other documentation are of primary importance and need to be brought to an alternate site. Check that backup files stored at off-site locations can be tapped into quickly. Verify data backups are current.
- Ensure availability of temporary power sources, such as generators or gasoline-powered pumps and battery-powered lighting
- Be certain that employees know what their role is in the process
- Top off generators with fuel
- Review and test evacuation procedures
- If an evacuation is in order, plan for alternate method by which your company can continue “business as usual,” whether at a hot site, via telecommuting, etc.
- Remind staff to review family plans and get supplies
- Refresh declaration procedures internally and with vendors
- Make sure persons that are authorized to declare a disaster know their role and if needed are identified on a list that a vendor maintains
- Keep abreast of weather developments via news and radio broadcasts
- Be prepared to declare
- Assess Credit Union facilities, utilities, systems, network infrastructure, etc.
- Assess accessibility of roads, where are the areas of flooding, etc.
- Decide if Disaster Declaration is to be made
- After the storm you should evaluate how well your Credit Union disaster recovery hurricane plan and mitigation strategies worked and make necessary modifications
Below are a few items to think about as you review and update your current plans.
- Work from home issues – homes not ready for hurricane damage, power outages, flooding
- Review business processes that were shifted to a person working from home and backup plans
- What preparations and instructions are needed should we require people to come into the office? Require masks, personal distancing, sanitizing office areas
- Panic buying and the impact due to shortages during pandemic?
- Consider ways how staff/members could possibly be exposed to the virus?
- If public schools are shelters, what is the plan for the local government to keep everyone safe from the virus?
Even as we manage the COVID-19 pandemic, we still need to be focused on other types of threats to our business. Natural disasters and cyber incidents are still real threats we need to be vigilant of, planning and testing should continue.
Experts are not sure what will happen during a hurricane and pandemic combo event. Credit union business continuity plans need to be reviewed and updated. Crisis Management Teams should be ready and prepared to call audibles and be flexible for plans to change!
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