Do not think a data recovery plan will alone be good enough for any credit union that suffers a large, direct hit from Hurricane Sandy.
The loud and insistent advice from experts is that data recovery plans – good as they are – are just a partial step.
“You could be out of business for many days, possibly weeks,” warned Steve Fairbanks, vice president of product delivery at CA Technologies, an IT company based in Islandia, N.Y.
That is because, in data recovery plans, typically data are sent offsite and that is a good step. But if Sandy were to destroy all of a credit union’s computer hardware, it could be many days before the institution was back up and running with new hardware.
Fairbanks cautioned that he was unaware as of Tuesday afternoon of any financial institution customers of CA that had suffered serious hits.
He added, “Those that did not prepare in advance for this kind of event now can only hope that when they attempt to re-open that their data are usable.”
Jarrett Potts, director of strategic marketing for STORServer, a Colorado-based backup company with a number of credit union customers, agreed with Fairbanks: “Data recovery is not the same as business continuity planning.”
Credit unions, he indicated, need both.
Data recovery plans, explained the experts, are systems for ensuring that all critical data is backed up offsite, preferably in a location that won’t be subject to the same natural disasters as the host institution.
Business continuity plans are a step beyond and involve a range of activities needed to actually open the doors after a disaster. Included are telephone services, sometimes portable ATMs, possibly borrowed computer hardware in the event an institution’s own hardware was destroyed. When a good business continuity plan is in place, experts said an institution can re-open in hours.
Without that plan, it may take substantially longer.
As for Sandy-spawned damages to credit unions, Potts, too, indicated that he was unaware of any damage reports. He added, “Every one of our customers in Sandy’s path has at least two sets of their data in two different places, at a minimum. Our customers are prepared for this storm.”
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