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#147396 - 01/08/04 10:21 PM Disaster Contingency Policy and Plan of Action
UofLer Offline
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UofLer
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 135
I've just finished writing the bank policy for contingency planning... Now that I sit back and look at it I wonder, if a real emergency occurred would it work? Would any policy really work? Are banks including every type of disaster? I've set up the types of things that will happen, i.e. Communication Failure, Equipment Failure, one location unavailable, both (we have 2) locations unavailable. What are others thoughts on this subject? Would anyone be willing to share his or her policy/procedures? Thanks for the input!

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General Discussion
#147397 - 01/08/04 10:31 PM Re: Disaster Contingency Policy and Plan of Action
Rocky P Offline
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Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,402
Florida
The FFIEC has a great guidebook for Disaster Recovery.
http://www.ffiec.gov/ffiecinfobase/booklets/bcp/bus_continuity_plan.pdf

I'm working on a project (discovery stage) now that takes three components (phone/fax, computer/internet, and building), and starts eliminating them one at a time, over different time periods for the outage: 4 hours, 2 days, etc.

The departments would be responsible for indicating their functional needs for each of the scenarios and time. Once completed the BC team will determine resources and finalize actions.
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#147398 - 01/08/04 11:04 PM Re: Disaster Contingency Policy and Plan of Action
Uncle_Milty Offline
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Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 434
New Jersey
I finished writing ours in 1993...and 94...95...etc. You can never really be done as systems and processes change, products change, backup technology changes, etc. I'll bet you learned more than you ever wanted to know about some aspects of the bank.

Disasters come in many flavors and sizes, so it's hard to have a plan for everything. But thinking through various scenarios, documenting everything and testing what you can will prepare you as much as possible. I think we all wonder if it will really work...when the big one comes the best plan and best backup site in the world won't help if the employees are also impacted personally or can't get to the site.

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#147399 - 01/09/04 05:22 PM Re: Disaster Contingency Policy and Plan of Action
Jeff Olejnik Offline
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Jeff Olejnik
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 11
You make a good point about the potential of not having key employees available during a disaster. That is why the plan should include sufficient detail that someone else could assist in the recovery. When testing, it's a good idea to have individuals that had not written the recovery procedures perform the recovery (e.g. have the network support personnel recover systems) to ensure that sufficient detail is included. This approach has the additional benefit of cross-training.

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#147400 - 01/09/04 06:07 PM Re: Disaster Contingency Policy and Plan of Action
Andy_Z Offline
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Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 27,485
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You absolutely cannot address every emergency but you can paint broad strokes for what happens during types of emergencies, i.e. loss of communication, loss of power, etc. There are contingencies for how long the condition is expected to exist and who else you are dependent on.

When we had flooding in East Texas, cell phones didn't work and neither did land lines. But our two-way pagers did. We were doing the thumb-typing olympics for a few days with those. Redundant systems are a good thing.

Plan on the more common problems the most, as they will be the ones to most often test your procedures. These are the minor emergencies, power outage, communication issues, storm conditions. And a whole lot depends on your people reacting to the conditions. They need training. The difficult or impossible task is to train for the big disaster. If key staffers lose family members, homes and such, how focused will they be on your plan? Not very. But those are the unusuals. Hopefully the plans get dusted off for mock training, small problems, and never for the biggies.

Since people change, systems change and locations change, never mark a plan as "Final". It always has its own life.
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My opinions are not necessarily my employers.
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#147401 - 01/09/04 07:24 PM Re: Disaster Contingency Policy and Plan of Action
Rocky P Offline
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Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,402
Florida
Little things hit all the time, like Andy mentioned. One of the most important things to remember is whenever there is any type of interruption, do a Post Mortem to see:

What caused the interruption,
Could the interruption be mitigated in the future,
What was done right during the interruption,
Did we follow the Disaster Recovery Plan (does the Plan need to be modified), and
What could be improved.

This way, you will continue to improve your plan.
_________________________
Integrity. With it, nothing else matters. Without it, nothing else matters.

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#147402 - 01/10/04 10:46 PM Re: Disaster Contingency Policy and Plan of Action
Strategery Offline
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Strategery
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 125
Snow Country
My hometown was hit with a major twister several years back. Knowing the President of one of the small community banks fairly well and with me being in bank operations, the success/failures of his bank's contingency plan was at the top of my list of things to ask him. The first thing he said they did was to throw out the Disaster Recovery Plan, and then he said they got to work and used common sense. Of course, he was joking somewhat, but did say that the plan really didn't fit well (even though it was very thorough and well written) and the only real benefit it provided was contact numbers for all of the critical vendors and support. Nobody sat down and reviewed what they were "supposed" to do. Like was mentioned above, many of the employees had homes destroyed and children to deal with -- priorities change (as well they should) when your personal life is also affected by the disaster. So that's why he said the best part was the contacts -- it wasn't too hard to assign (re-assign based on what the policy wanted) certain functions to anyone standing in front of him as long as he and his officer staff had the pertinent information in front of them. He did say though, that the plan has more meaning and usefullness after the initial recovery phase where you can step back, take a breath and then evaluate where you are at. For them, I believe this was a day maybe two later. Then they made sure they didn't miss any critical areas and were on track with the ones they were shooting from the hip on.

It's one of those things. You need one, but don't expect it to work like magic -- common sense and good leadership should be 90+% of the recovery plan.

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#147403 - 01/17/04 01:54 AM Re: Disaster Contingency Policy and Plan of Action
Anonymous
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Try MPA Systems, Texas, they have standby modular facilities stationed all over the country and its not expensive to have them guarantee response.

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