Protect Your Credit Union From Disasters

 

Though many people like to think spring is the time for most natural disasters like floods and tornadoes, many forget that the warm summer temperatures and dryness of fall can create perfect conditions for tornadoes, fires, and severe thunderstorms in the US. And if this year has taught us anything, it’s that you can never be too prepared.

“Recent events have highlighted the importance for credit unions to perform ongoing reviews of their plans for disaster preparedness and response,” says the National Credit Union Administration’s Chairman JoAnn Johnson. Disaster recovery and disaster planning are important all the time, but the best time to protect yourself and your credit union from them is before that first disaster or close call.

Eliminate Downtime

It’s the worst feeling in the world to be face-to-face or on the phone with a member and you have to tell them, “I’m sorry, our network/system just went down.” The uncertainty and confusion that downtime creates can negatively affect your business, your employees, and your customers.

Any good disaster recovery provider should be able to tell you exactly how they will deal with and minimize downtime in the event of a disaster. Their – and your – top priority should be to minimize downtime and restore business operations promptly.

Offer Real-Time Solutions

Having a disaster recovery system in place prior to “disaster-heavy seasons” (fall and spring) means your data is constantly being backed up and protected, so when disaster strikes, you can begin the recovery process automatically and with little to no data loss.

Serving community members means that losing their data could result in losing their patronage. Any disaster recovery solution you choose should have real-time solutions that are running in the background at all times, giving you constant peace of mind.

Data Center Routing

Disasters don’t just mean a tornado or fire wipes out some or all of your credit union’s physical location. Sometimes, it’s just a quick power outage or a single server crash. Disaster recovery can also include having a data center take the load and carry it while you repair and recover the crashed server. IMS can route anything from a single location to multiple branches of your credit union. Sometimes, disasters are small and isolated, other times they are all-encompassing, and you need solutions in place for issues of any size.

Re-Evaluate and Customize

Putting a disaster recovery plan in place is a great way to protect your credit union, but as 2020 has shown us, something can come out of the blue and create brand new, unheard-of issues. One of the biggest mistakes credit unions make is implementation without re-evaluation.

Putting a fire extinguisher in the office is great – but not testing it for 5 years is not. The same is true with your disaster recovery protocols. Every year, you should evaluate your plans. Does your recovery provider have new or updated solutions that could improve your own strategies? Have you talked to them about customization for your branches in the southeast regions versus those located in “Tornado Alley”? It’s worth your time to think about it.

Protect Your Credit Union Now

IMS offers private cloud services and offsite data storage. It is important for you to safeguard your member data at all times, but especially when your credit union is affected by a disaster.

Contact us to find out how you can protect your credit union and its members with our disaster recovery tools.


Preparing for Hurricane Season

 

The official start of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1 and runs until November 30, but there’s already a tropical storm developing off the coast of Florida. That means it’s time to take another look at your disaster recovery and backup systems to make sure you’re prepared for any storms.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information, the U.S. South, Central and Southeast regions experience a higher frequency of billion-dollar disaster events than any other region in the country. Severe storms like hurricanes and tornadoes lead to extensive power and telecommunications outages, mail service disruption, facility damage and transportation restrictions that impact how people access their money. Credit unions are no exception and may have to shut down or move operations for safety. In these moments it’s crucial your members can rely on you to continue serving the community.

Our client Louisiana Federal Credit Union has experienced many storms over the years, including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Isaac. During the aftermath of every storm, their community has relied heavily on Louisiana FCU to provide full financial services. Knowing they are located in a hot zone for natural disasters, the credit union decided to move their core system to a safer region in the Northwest. By upgrading their core system, they now have peace of mind during hurricane season knowing that their services will be available to its members in their time of need.

business people planning at meetingMajor storms can disrupt a financial institution’s operations, sometimes lasting a significant period of time. While some interruptions can be anticipated, others cannot. That’s why it’s critical to have a business continuity plan in place. This is how the DuGood Federal Credit Union was able to effectively begin its backup plan when their data center was in the direct path of a large-scale hurricane.

The credit union knew they needed to act fast for the safety of the business and their staff. Members would be evacuating soon and it was important they could access their funds. After contacting our team, we worked together in coordinating a graceful shutdown of their systems and implemented a remote backup solution. It took less than three hours to back up systems, recover servers and bring up third-party vendor services like the ATM and internet banking. Ultimately, we were able to help with other technical operations as the team evacuated to another office.

With a continuity plan in place, your credit union will be able to jump into action if there’s any disruptive event. Test your disaster recovery service and reassess how well your institution is prepared for threats across all levels. When working with our team, you can count on no-cost annual testing to verify the integrity of your data.

We cannot predict the severity of all disasters, especially when it comes to natural disasters, but there is practice and preparation. Know where to go, identify what critical functions are needed and develop planned responses. 

Don’t wait until a storm is on the horizon to start making plans for your credit union. Contact our team to talk about the disaster recovery solution your credit union has in place. When disaster strikes, you’ll want to focus more on your members, staff and service than on complex logistics.