Business Continuity And Disaster Recovery Solutions For Financial
Modern financial service providers don't keep "banker's hours." Global
markets operate around the clock and customers expect full access to accounts and services at all times. Disaster recovery plans that work for other industries do not provide the level of business continuity needed by the financial service market.
Guaranteeing 100% Uptime
Something as simple as a server failure can mean hours of lost access while offsite backup tapes are couriered over and the system is restored. A more serious disaster that requires office relocation could leave a company unable to operate for weeks or even months.
This downtime is simply unacceptable to critical financial operations. Firms that offer investment banking, securities management or financial research to global clientele would have to close their doors if they were down for a significant length of time. Clients could lose millions of dollars for each day of lost access, and the financial provider could be liable for these losses. Clients demand nothing less than superior business continuity planning - 100% uptime. Companies can implement a host of disaster recovery solutions such as redundant internet connections, backup generators and duplicate equipment but even these measures may not be enough in the event of a natural disaster. A business continuity strategy must account for every disaster scenario.
What If The Main Office Is Lost?
Advances in secure information technology have allowed businesses to decentralize much of their operations and provide redundancy, which is a valuable part of a disaster recovery strategy. However it is difficult or impossible to become completely independent of a headquarters that oversees the entire operation. Employees need a place to work. Servers need to be housed. Clients need to be seen. Although much of financial services can be offered online, somewhere there has to be a building or campus controlling it all.
Business continuity strategies have to include a provision for the loss of the main office. A major fire, a bomb threat, or even a serious traffic accident that blocks access to the building could shut down operations. A comprehensive disaster recovery plan needs to include an alternate site that can take over critical company operations in unforeseen circumstances. Personnel can be redirected to the new site with no loss of service. Customers will be unaware there has been any change in company activities.
Features Of A Backup Office
A secondary location doesn't have to be an exact duplicate of the main headquarters. Typically it is smaller, allowing only critical operations to be duplicated. It is meant as a temporary measure while the primary location is repaired or access is otherwise restored. This allows it to be an affordable part of a disaster recovery plan.
Since the secondary site is specifically designed to provide business continuity, it should have better disaster recovery features than the main site. And because it is a smaller facility these features will be less expensive than at the main site so the company can afford a more comprehensive protection plan. Secondary sites are often managed by a colocation service rather than the business itself since they provide the expertise and equipment necessary to provide a level of security greater than most companies can provide for themselves.
Location of the site should be considered carefully. It should be close enough to the main site that workers from the central office can easily commute to the backup site even if conditions continue for weeks. However it should be far enough away it is unlikely to be affected by the same disaster that has blocked the main office.
Disaster recovery plans that worked a decade ago and offered 99.999% reliability simply aren't good enough anymore. True business continuity requires a comprehensive and dedicated plan to ensure customers have full access regardless of local conditions. Give your company the reliability it needs by founding a backup office before disaster strikes.
by: Steve Bulmer
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