Disaster Recovery for Credit UnionsIn this day and age, new words are created every day. Whether they are new acronyms we learn from our kids texts and chats (ROFL, YOLO, SMH); different interpretations of words crowd-sourced into our language thanks to the Urban Dictionary (covfefe); the resurgence of words long lost in the archives of Webster (dotard); and words perhaps we never knew existed but are now a standard part of our lexicon, in a bigly way. While some of these terms may prove to be ephemeral and will lose relevance in no time, here are 5 terms that will NOT be fleeting when it comes to Disaster Recovery (DR) for credit unions:

Verb - a method of protecting computer systems from failure, in which standby equipment automatically takes over when the main system fails. For credit union core recovery, fail-over is the process of moving your credit union's journaled transmissions or vault transmission to recovery equipment the moment a disaster occurs. Ideally, the recovery equipment is in a geographically diverse location to ensure a successful recovery despite the location of the disaster.

da·ta res·to·ra·tion
noun -  Restoration in full or in part of the credit union's most recent data. In an ongoing disaster, robust DR Plans will have a secure VPN tunnel launch for the credit union to connect remotely to the recovery hardware. Any functioning workstations or PCs at the credit union, not impacted by the disaster or located off-site, are directed to communicate through the VPN. Once data restoration is complete, the core system can be fully operational as a cloud hosted solution.

re·cov·er·y point ob·jec·tive
noun - A recovery point objective (RPO) is defined within your business continuity planning as the "maximum targeted period in which data might be lost." In other words, what is the most recent data transmission your system can retrieve and restore? A credit unions' Disaster Recovery Plan should at least restore the most recent end-of-period data (including all documents, images, credit reports, history, programs, etc).  However, with DR services such as "near real-time journaling" of data, credit unions can make their RPO the last transaction saved prior to the disaster.

re·cov·er·y time ob·jec·tive
noun - The recovery time objective (RTO) is also defined in your Business Continuity Plan as the targeted duration or acceptable amount of time a business process must be restored after a disaster. In planning, credit unions should ask their core provider "
What is the expected length of time that the core system will be down after a failure or disruption?"  It is not always possible to have an EXACT time declared as there are so many variables impacting data restoration, including the amount and complexity of the data, how widespread the disaster is, etc. However, your core technology provider should be able to give an approximate time that is at most a 24-hour RTO. To put your core vendor to the test, a disaster recovery simulation should be completed annually to approximate RTO for your specific credit union.

busi·ness con·ti·nu·i·ty
noun - Disaster Recovery is just one aspect of Business Continuity Planning. Many people interchange the two terms, but in actuality, Business Continuity is much broader. Once your core system is up and running with data restored, there is likely a myriad of other ancillary processes within your credit union that you’ll need to return to full functionality. Phone systems, card processor services, ATM's and cash dispensers, shared branching, and more. Not to mention ensuring your staff and call centers are able to assist members even if your branches are still physically closed. When a disaster strikes, a branch manager and credit union CEO will be busy tackling all member response, safety of staff, etc. It is wise to work with your core provider to ensure they are able to assist the other IT systems outside the core, which will most likely involve communicating with other third-party vendors.

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