In previous posts I spent time talking about the importance of thorough Disaster Recovery Planning (DRP) and Business Continuity Planning (BCP), in summary here are the main functions of each. DRP identifies the way in which a business organization will restore operations following a catastrophe, for instance a hurricane, tornado or terrorist attack. A BCP is broader, it establishes how a business will rebuild full operations in the event of a tragedy after the DRP is in place, or what to do in the case of a far more benign event such as a server malfunction or maybe a truck hits your power pole and now your business is without electricity.
The initial step to develop a Business Continuity plan is a Business Impact Analysis (BIA). With all of the acronyms I’m confident it’s apparent that the government is involved, and BIA is required by the financial institutions regulators as an element of the BCP. A BIA is established by stakeholders, management and key employees; in a nutshell it identifies and prioritizes vital business functions vs. non critical business functions of a corporation, recognizing all functions are essential, the BIA forces a decisive review of business operations. For instance, in the event of a destructive hurricane the organization could have limited resources, the BIA group must identify if it’s more essential for the affected organization to first concentrate on answering the phones, produce widgets, deliver widgets or service widgets. When the BIA is complete, management will have directives on how to first concentrate resources. As soon as the BIA is done the group can turn to the DRP and BCP by first focusing on the functions revealed in the BIA as first priority.
The crucial elements of a BIA are:
• Identify and prioritize business functions
• Establish the importance of business units or divisions
• Identify the impact of business interruptions
• Examine regulatory and legal implications of business disruptions
• Establish the most permitted downtime and tolerable losses
• Estimate the resources needed to recover
In the event of a large disaster, it is reasonable to summarize that for any banking business, a priority should be to find a way to be available for its customers. Regulatory agencies require financial businesses to restore business functions in a minimal period of time. Business interruptions ought to be minimal especially for community banks and credit unions with one or two branches. A resource to solve many if not all of the crucial elements in a BIA is a temporary bank building. These are mobile office buildings which are fully outfitted as a fully functioning bank branch will teller windows, a safe, drop box and drive up window.
Most of the companies that specialize in temporary bank buildings have Disaster Recovery programs for the financial sector. These packages can be fluid in nature so that the contract scope meets the unique needs that a bank determined in the prior planning. Typically, by entering into a Disaster Recovery Program contract with a portable bank company, upon notification the temporary bank building provider guarantees to supply, deliver and set up a fully functional modular bank building within a specified period of time. With this type of contract in place, the bank assures that equipment is going to be available. Portable bank buildings are very specialized pieces of equipment, in the event of a large catastrophe they may become hard to find if you do not have a partnership in place.
Managing the problems in the days and weeks after a disaster are frenzied enough, adding the stress of trying to satisfy the requirements of your affected customers as well as meeting the criteria of your regulators by finding short-term facilities inside a storm ravaged area can be a difficult task. For a minimal annual fee, consider entering into a Disaster Recovery contract with a reliable temporary modular banking supplier and you’ll achieve several things, a complete BIM leading to a well-executed DRP and in the event of a disaster a completely operational facility delivered at your directive with a telephone call.