Some Disaster Recovery Tips.

We’re suffering the effects of a good old-fashioned blizzard today in Cleveland.  It’s just sort of disaster conditions.  This is kind of ironic, because I’m doing a webinar today on disaster recovery.  What a great day to blog about some tips on dealing with a disaster.

A key part of disaster planning is using your time now to work out your plan so during the crisis you have something to rely on.  Here are some things to think about:

1. Nail down your alternate operating location.  Make sure you have the necessary space and power and that you can do your data processing from that location.  Resolve all zoning issues in advance.  If you’re relying on putting up a trailer in the parking lot, make sure you’re allowed to do that.  If you are going to operate out of a location you’ve never used, make sure it’s zoned for what you do.
2. Consider Shared Branching.  Many credit union managers I’ve talked to who have gone through a disaster highly praise shared branching as a way to offer member services after a disaster event.
3. Evaluate your Insurance coverage annually.  Here’s some common riders:
A. All risk property damage
B. Business interruption
C. Extra Expense Ins. (replacement value not salvage)
D. Valuable Papers
E. Accounts Receivable
F. Electronic Data Processing
G. Earthquake, flood
4. Aspire to have a 24 hour turn around on your data processing.  While it is difficult for most credit unions to afford a hot site that is effectively a real time backup, this is the ideal.  If nothing else, you should be doing your back ups from disk to disk then back it up again from disk to tape.
5. Store the Disaster Recovery Plan where people can get to it.  A plan should not be so short that key procedures are missing.  It should not, however, be so long that people don’t use it.

Disaster Recovery is a hot topic right now and for good reason.  Planning today can save much heartache later.  Fortunately, we’re facing down our blizzard quite nicely.  While there are people out because of the weather, all our offices are open and everything is functioning.  That’s how you want it to be.


3 thoughts on “Some Disaster Recovery Tips.

  1. Rob, I’d also suggest that a credit union create a blog through Blogger or WordPress to communicate regular updates.

    Tulane University did this during Katrina (to rave reviews), and Verity CU did this when they got spoofed and had to take their traditional website offline.

  2. Rob, the missing piece in disaster recovery is from where do you run the credit union operations? The data may be recovered from the data service provider’s hot site but where do you run the back office operations if the credit union facilites are not useable? Some third party providers have offered such space but on a first come first served basis with the right to reduce your space or kick you out of your space if others need it. Hardly a comforting thought. This concern led credit unions in the DC area to form a CUSO called Ongoing Operations, LLC. The CUSO has a large high tech secure facility in Hagerstown, Maryland that can guarantee space to credit unions in the event of a disaster. There is strong interest for these services from around the country. A new facility will soon be placed on the West Coast. More can be learned at

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