Business Continuity

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As a CUSO and CU*Asterisk network partner delivering products and services to 200+ credit unions nation-wide representing more than 2,000 concurrent system users supporting over 1.7 million members, CU*Answers is committed to being there when our customers and owners need us most. Whether it’s the software tools we build and provide that enable credit unions to successfully manage and market their operations or the online banking platforms our members use to reach their financial goals, the expectations are the same. The network and the information it contains must be secure and it must be available.

To accomplish this, CU*Answers adheres to strict continuity and recovery principles aligned with industry standards and guidelines, implemented and managed through a robust Business Continuity Management Program. Certified and experienced recovery teams actively monitor daily operations, anticipating incidents and threats with the potential for creating disruptions.

An effective Business Continuity Management program answers the following:

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At the heart of the program is a comprehensive written Business Continuity Plan (BCP) developed to maintain or resume business in the event of a disruption. The BCP includes both the technology recovery capability (also known as Disaster Recovery) as well as the recovery of the business units themselves.

Key components of the CU*Answers Business Continuity Plan include:

For questions about the CU*Answers Business Continuity Plan or to request a copy, please contact us.

 

Business Continuity Planning Process

Keeping the continuity and recovery plans accurate, complete and relevant in a constantly changing and ever increasing complex business and IT environment requires a repeatable process; one that includes the following steps:

  1. Needs Assessment and Program Initiation

    1. Identifies gaps between existing plans and policies and aligns strategies implemented with defined business goals and objectives.
  2. Business Impact Analysis and Risk Assessment

    1. Identifies critical business functions and the threats that warrant the risk of disruption.
  3. Continuity and Recovery Strategy Development

    1. Identifies cost effective controls and procedures to mitigate the likelihood of disruption and the impact to the organization.
  4. Recovery Plan Development and Implementation

    1. Documents the strategies and recovery procedures put in place to continue operations through or recover from disruptions.
  5. Plan Awareness and Training

    1. Educates staff of their roles and responsibilities prior to and during a recovery effort.
  6. Plan Exercise, Audit and Maintenance

    1. Validates accuracy and completeness of the plan and sharpens recovery skills through regular testing.

With defined goals and objective created at the onset, each step identifies key information that helps shape the program resulting in a strategy and plan that is both effective (provides for a timely recovery of critical business functions) and efficient (minimizes losses and allocates limited budget resources for technologies and controls that best address operational risk).

Contact a CU*Answers Certified Continuity Consultant today to learn how you can improve your credit union’s ability to adapt and respond to the next unexpected business disruption.

Creating a “Culture of Continuity”

Having a robust business continuity program requires support and participation at all levels of the organization. The most resilient operations are those that continually educate and train staff for emergency scenarios, effectively creating a “Culture of Continuity”.  Culture is the personality, philosophy, attitude, values, and behaviors that define an organization’s style, policies, and working environment.

Culture influences:

  • How decisions are made and carried out,
  • Resistance to change and innovation,
  • Degree of accountability and ownership,
  • Organizational strategy, and
  • How “things get done”.

At CU*Answers, “Culture of Continuity” is defined as:

“The organizational state of being in which all personnel inherently work to minimize the likelihood of downtime and improve responsiveness and recoverability as we perform day-to-day activities.”

The highlight of the CU*Answers awareness and training program is the annual Continuity Awareness Day with participation from all departments across three facilities.

Read a CU Insight article about our culture of continuity.

For the Credit Union

Developing, implementing, and testing continuity and disaster recovery plans can seem an overwhelming task requiring time, resources and skills not always available in every organization.  The impact of an outdated plan that is incomplete and no longer relevant puts your organization at risk with the potential for compliance issues, financial loss, member dissatisfaction and damaged reputation.

For more information, see the “Resilient Credit Union”.

The same talent, skills and expertise used to safeguard core-processing for the CU*Answers network is available to you. Our experience in the credit union industry can help guide your business continuity program so that it properly measures up to regulatory requirements (NCUA, FFIEC, etc.), standards and guidelines, peers in the industry, and professional best practices. To accomplish this, we offer the right mix of professional and managed services shown below to complement your exiting program or to help you build one. Contact a CU*Answers Continuity Consultant today to discover in-network solutions that best meet your business objectives.

Next Steps

CU*Answers offers professional and managed services to help you meet and exceed your recovery objectives. Contact a CU*Answers Continuity Consultant today to discover in-network solutions that best meet your business objectives.

Updated
June 16, 2016

[The Pulse] HA Rollover Results Now Available

HA Rollover Results Now Available Rollover: March 12 – 13 Now available for your review is a summary of the recent HA (high-availability) rollover event, performed March 12 – 13. You may recall that this rollover period was shortened due to an issue that surfaced for a select group of credit union branch locations, preventing them… Read more »

Mar 24, 2017

Sure is Windy

“Sure is windy outside” was a common phrase heard around the office on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Most chalk this up to water cooler talk, but to business continuity professionals it brings about anxiety. Are we going to lose power? Are we prepared to respond accordingly? Are we sure the generator will kick on, when… Read more »

Mar 22, 2017

[The Pulse] HA Rollback Scheduled for TONIGHT, 3/13!

High Availability Rollback Beginning at 10 PM ET, Tonight, 3/13 This evening, March 13, beginning at 10 PM ET and lasting until approximately 11 PM ET, our teams will complete the rollback to the production data center. This rollback, originally scheduled for Wednesday evening, has been moved forward due to an issue involving printer communications affecting… Read more »

Mar 13, 2017

[The Pulse] HA Rollover Scheduled for Sunday, March 12

High Availability Rollover Scheduled Sunday, March 12 – Wednesday March 15 During this rollover event, we will redirect CU*BASE core-processing from our primary production data center to systems at our high-availability (HA) data center. The rollover process will begin at 10 PM ET on Sunday, March 12. We will continue providing live production of CU*BASE… Read more »

Mar 7, 2017

Action Required: Complete a Connectivity Test

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS The next CU*Answers (HA) High Availability Rollover is scheduled for March 12-15.  During these three days in March, CU*BASE/GOLD will be hosted ‘live’ from our HA datacenter at Site-Four in Yankton, SD. Since the completion of the previous HA rollover event, performed in December, teams have been busy building… Read more »

Mar 2, 2017

[The Pulse] 2017 Business Continuity Plan Now Available

CU*Answers Business Continuity Plan: 2017 Release Now Available   As your core data processor, we continue to invest in high availability and recovery strategies to ensure that the products and services you count on us for are there when you need them. Implementing those strategies and responding when uncertainty happens requires a well-designed and thoroughly… Read more »

Jan 31, 2017

[The Pulse] HA Rollover Results Now Available

HA Rollover Results Now Available Rollover: December 10 – 18 Now available for your review is a summary of the unscheduled HA (high-availability) rollover, performed December 10 – 18.  In the report, you will find details about the exercise, including challenges observed, lessons learned, and recommendations for improving the rollover process. HA Rollover Results View… Read more »

Jan 6, 2017

[The Pulse] HA Rollback Scheduled for 12/18

High-Availability Rollback Beginning 10 PM ET, Sunday December 18 On Sunday, December 18, beginning at 10 PM ET and lasting until approximately 11 PM ET, our teams will complete the rollback to the production data center. During the rollback period, there will be an interruption to all systems, including CU*Talk audio response and It’s Me 247 online banking… Read more »

Dec 16, 2016

The Pulse – 2016 Statement Printing Recovery Test Results Available

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS: 2016 Statement Printing Recovery Test Results Available At CU*Answers, we take our Business Continuity Program very seriously. We work extremely hard to design and develop the tools you need to best serve your members and succeed in the marketplace. And we work even harder to make sure that those… Read more »

Nov 22, 2016

What if You Lost Access to Your Documents and Images?

Business Continuity Strategies for Electronic Document Storage What would you do if the server where you stored electronic images and documents was suddenly unavailable? How would you store or retrieve receipts? What would happen to your loan forms? Join us to hear about a recent case study where this actually happened. Join John Beauchamp (V.P…. Read more »

Nov 10, 2016