Tips on Business Continuity Planning from Financial Institutions

August 14, 2017

Few organizations take business continuity planning as serious as financial organizations do. The Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as the organizations they oversee, depend heavily on technology for their daily operations. For these establishments, a severe data loss event or significant downtime has the potential to cripple the economy, depending on the severity. As such, they require all of the institutions that they have jurisdiction over to meet certain business continuity benchmarks.

Even if your companies are not legally required to comply with these regulations, using them as a guideline for your own business continuity plan (BCP) is a great way to ensure that you’re prepared for a ‘worst-case-scenario’. Here’s a look at a few of the elements that the FRB and SEC require for business continuity plans:

Personnel: Human resources represent one of most critical BCP components, and often, personnel issues are not fully integrated into the enterprise-wide plan.

  • Team in Charge of BCP
  • Define Key Personnel
  • Establish Emergency Contacts

Communication Planning: Communication is a critical aspect of a BCP and should include communication with employees, emergency personnel, regulators, vendors/suppliers, customers, etc.

  • Notify team of Disaster/Event
  • Set-up Information Hotline for Employee Updates
  • Keep Updated Phone Tree
  • Backup Communication Methods
  • Contact Vendors/Customers

Technology Issues: Just as they do during the course of normal business operations, technology issues play a crucial role in the recovery process.

  • Define Data Recovery Process
  • Employ Multiple Data Backup Storage Locations
  • Keep Prioritized Inventory of Technology
  • Hardware – mainframe, mid-range, servers, network, end-user;
  • Software – applications, operating systems, utilities
  • Communications (network and telecommunications)
  • Data files and vital records
  • Operations processing equipment
  • Office equipment

General: These few items are very important to business continuity, but are frequently overlooked during the planning stages.

  • Official Disaster Declaration
  • Alternative Location
  • Automated Systems Run Manually
  • Maintenance of Plan
  • Practiced Execution of Plan

For many small business owners, the realization that a lack-luster data backup solution does not constitute a business continuity plan comes at the expense of lost time and resources – and in some cases even more. Like with many aspects of business, a bit of preparation goes a long way toward success. Would you like to know more about business continuity planning best practices for your business? Contact us at (610) 828- 5500.

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