Component Two: Needs Assessment
Now that you’ve defined success, you need to determine specifically what components need to be up and operational in order to achieve success. This requires building a team that includes representatives of all major departments in your credit union.
I have come onsite at credit unions to review and discuss their current disaster recovery setup and you should see the eyes of management in various departments when they find out some of the key functions of their day to day operations would not be operational in a disaster. I cannot emphasize this enough: It cannot be left up to IT to determine the critical needs of each individual department.
Many credit unions focus on their core system, but networks have become highly complex. There are many different components necessary for a successful recovery. I can’t tell you how many times we request a list of the components a potential customer wants protected and they include their core, Exchange, etc., and completely omit the domain controller; or, they list all of their key servers and omit third-party vendor connectivity. It is imperative to understand the interdependencies of the various components.
In this day and age, more members are accessing their funds via ATM and Debit Card and managing their accounts via internet banking or mobile than brick and mortar. Also, bills and payroll are primarily coming in via ACH. During a major regional disaster, most members will be evacuating the area and ATM’s and Debit Cards will be their only form of transacting. Waiting until a disaster occurs is not the time to realize you overlooked some key components.
It is important to understand that assessing your needs is not done once, it needs to be a regular occurrence. We don’t turn 40, go to the doctor for a checkup and, assuming everything checks out fine, never return again. You have to be diligent. You have to regularly assess your needs. I have never come across a credit union where their technology and staff were static. Equipment will become outdated and need to be replaced, new technology will be implemented, vendors will be replaced and staff will turnover. It’s just a fact! Your credit union will be forever changing and evolving, so, therefore, re-assessing is a must. If that sounds daunting, it can be, at least initially. However, it becomes much easier to reassess once you have assessed. Please check back with us next week when we cover “Component Three, RTO’s & RPO’s”.