Disaster recovery—the process of restoring IT infrastructure, data and systems in the aftermath of a major negative event—is a specialized area of technology that’s not always top of mind for executives. CEOs must ensure their organization is equipped to quickly resume mission-critical functions following a calamity.
Here are some key considerations that bank CEOs should keep in mind to make sure their financial institution has a feasible approach to disaster recovery.
Expect the Unexpected
A disaster can happen anytime—and in any form. While people typically think of disasters as being natural occurrences, manmade catastrophes such as power outages, equipment failures, cyber attacks, and network downtime due to human error are equally common causes of disruption. Regardless of the source, the need for DR is truly a matter of when—not if. So, CEOs should get comfortable with the uncomfortable idea that some type of disaster will eventually impact their institution.
DR planning is the key to both preventing disasters, and when they do eventually occur, successfully recovering from a natural or manmade calamity. Not having a sufficient plan in place can hit an institution where it hurts most: a loss of data, business functions, clients and reputation—not to mention time and money. Therefore, bank CEOs must ensure their management team is taking proactive steps to adopt effective DR strategies. This includes implementing—and testing—a plan for getting operations back to normal with minimum interruption.
Besides the practical need for DR planning, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) advocates taking a preemptive approach to this often overlooked area of technology. The FFIEC IT Handbook’s Business Continuity Management booklet advises: “Management should identify key business processes and activities to be maintained while IT systems and applications are unavailable and prioritize the order in which these systems are restored, which should be reflected in the BIA. In addition, management should develop a coordinated strategy for the recovery of data centers, networks, servers, storage, service monitoring, user support, and related software.”
The business impact analysis (BIA) is one tool that bank management can use to ensure their financial institution is adequately preparing for DR. This important mechanism predetermines and prioritizes the potential impact disruptive events will have on business functions. Essentially, the BIA can show gaps in critical processes that would impede disaster recovery and, in turn, the institution’s business continuity.
Consider Outsourcing DR
The intricacies of disaster recovery planning can be daunting, which is why many organizations fail to create a viable DR plan. More than one-third of small and medium-sized businesses do not have a plan in place for responding to data breaches and cyber attacks, according to the Ponemon Institute’s 2019 Global State of Cybersecurity in Small and Medium-Sized Businesses report. However, bank management can leverage external resources to expand their institution’s disaster recovery capabilities. Outside vendors can provide new technologies that reduce risk and enhance data backup, storage and recovery. They offer a variety of cloud-based solutions that can make the DR process more streamlined, efficient and cost-effective. Outsourcing DR can be especially advantageous to smaller banks that may lack this type of specialized knowledge in house. It can also benefit larger institutions that want the comfort of having third-party services available to support their resident DR specialists.
CEOs have a lot on their plates but paying attention to these important DR issues can help ensure both operational resilience during a disaster as well as regulatory compliance. To learn more about how Safe Systems helps financial institutions and their CEOs develop well designed, compliant DR plans, explore our Managed Site Recovery solution.