We’ve talked previously on our blog about the difference between credit union disaster recovery and business continuity planning. A business continuity plan (BCP) is a series of protocols created to make sure an organization can keep operating during a disaster, and a disaster recovery plan is often a subset of the BCP that specifically plans for recovering lost data and restoring failed infrastructure. But no one could have guessed when we wrote that article in the fall of 2019 that we would have such an unprecedented year in 2020.
Here are some business continuity planning best practices for your credit union.
The Evolution of Business Continuity Planning
Originally, business continuity planning was created to focus on how businesses could plan ahead for natural disasters and similar events – fire, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. – but it quickly evolved to include cyber events – hackers, file corruption, system bugs, and the like.
Today, business continuity planning is more about assessing threats and risks and creating comprehensive protocols for increasingly complex businesses.
It’s become more about gap analysis and protecting your business than creating a step-by-step plan to merely react to issues that come up.
Document Core Functions – Focus on Details
This may seem like a no-brainer, but one of the first steps to creating a workable and comprehensive business continuity plan is to document the core functions of your credit union. These are the services that are central to your business’s success and that will have the greatest impact on that business, should something happen to your facilities, staff, equipment, or networks.
It’s also important to document the resources that will be required to fill these business functions and roles. The more detailed you can make your plans, the more prepared you will be in the event of a business interruption.
Mature Your Business Continuity Plan
Maturing your business continuity plan is just as important as creating it. Think of it like this: you have to have fire extinguishers inspected and replaced when they expire, right? The same is true for your BCP.
In this digital age, technology changes and upgrades so swiftly that it’s easy to become fatigued trying to keep up. But with business continuity planning, having an outdated plan is just as bad – if not worse – than having no plan at all.
Be sure to review and test your BCP on a regular basis. This means testing and working through all facets of the plan, not just a few items. Practice makes perfect, and spending quality time ensuring your plan is still effective can save you a lot of headaches later.
Develop a Communication Strategy
This goes hand in hand with the last point. Your plan is only as good as the people executing it, so frequent testing and practice drills are great ways to develop helpful and effective communication strategies before you need them.
Taking the time to educate your staff about business continuity planning is a great way to instill these ideas in the company culture, and to smooth out communication issues early on.
Have Offsite, Cloud-Based Backups
We know how important it is to safeguard your member data, especially when disaster strikes. Having cloud-based backups housed offsite is a great way to ensure the integrity of your files without having to worry about the what-ifs.