Disaster Recovery

Being prepared means planning for the worst and expecting the best. While CU*Answers has invested steadily over the past decade developing and implementing High Availability strategies to prepare us to continue operations through likely disruptive scenarios, we would fall short on our commitment if we did not plan for those unexpected, large-scale disasters, outside of the scope and reach of high-availability controls.

In the event of a disruption where failing-over to redundant hosts at the secondary datacenter is not an option, recovery teams will follow the necessary recovery procedures to restore the production system from backup media at a surviving site. To ensure our recovery teams are fully trained and capable and that procedures are validated and confirmed, bare-metal recovery exercises are performed on systems in a sandbox test environment.

For applications and systems that are not categorized as “core-processing” and are not included in the High Availability strategy, IT Contingency and Recovery Plans are maintained and tested regularly. Where feasible, redundant components are installed on systems and hardware to mitigate the risk of component failure and expedited warranty service maintained (most with 4 hour support or less).

Results from each disaster recovery test are published in a report and available for download. In-network credit unions are encouraged to review each report and to include them in their board packet documentation.

The Recovery Planning Process

Having a test-validated recovery plan that clearly articulates which systems must be recovered and in what order is crucial if an organization is to resume normal operations within an acceptable timeframe. A test-validated Disaster Recovery Plan should answer the following questions:

  • What happens when disaster strikes?
  • Will what we have planned support our business?
  • How do we resume ‘normal’ business procedures?

The information obtained from current Business Impact Analysis (BIA) and Risk Assessment (RA) reports will identify the amount of downtime tolerable before the organization is significantly impacted, and provide a prioritized list of systems that are required to restore critical business functions.  A recovery plan should include all of the steps required to bring systems back on-line and re-establish functionality for system end-users. These systems to restore include main and branch office facilities, hardware, software, data, and communications networks.

Components required for a successful recovery include:Components required for a successful recovery

  • Test-validated documentation for restoring systems
  • Skilled personnel
  • Access to vital records (data), and
  • Alternate recovery resources




For the Credit Union

Whether an on-line or in-house credit union, having a test-validated recovery plan for all resources required to perform critical business functions is the baseline. To be effective, your recovery plan must provide a roadmap for restoring minimum service levels within a time-frame that is acceptable to the organization (within the parameters of RTO/RPO as identified in the BIA).

Business Impact Analysis (BIA)“is the Process of identifying the potential impact of uncontrolled, non-specific events on an organization’s business processes.”

Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) –  “represent the maximum allowable downtime that can occur without severely impacting the recovery of operations or the time in which systems, applications, or business functions must be recovered after an outage (e.g., the point in time that a process can no longer be inoperable).

Recovery Point Objectives (RPO)“represent the amount of data that can be lost without severely impacting the recovery of operations or the point in time in which systems and data must be recovered (e.g., the date and time of a business disruption).”

 For more information, see the “Resilient Credit Union.

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.



 Professional Services available include:

  • Business Continuity Planning and Resilience Testing
  • Information Security Risk Assessment
  • Comprehensive Information Security Program (CISP)
  • Staff Security Training
  • IT Examination and Audit Preparation
  • IT Strategy Consulting
CU*Answers Network Services

Managed Services available include:

  • Network Management and Monitoring
  • Continuous Data Protection (CDP) including off-site data storage
  • Virtual Branch / Virtual Office
August 11, 2015

[The Pulse] 2020 Business Continuity Plan (mid-year revision) Now Available

[The Pulse] 2020 Business Continuity Plan (mid-year revision) 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 tested plan. We’ve recently updated the 2020 CU*Answers Business… Read more »

Aug 5, 2020

CUSO offering free educational webinar on changing how credit unions approach business continuity planning

On July 21, 2020, cooperative CUSO CU*Answers will present a free web-based educational course for credit unions covering the steps necessary to create a relevant and comprehensive Business Continuity Plan. New for this presentation are considerations for pandemic planning and mobilizing the remote workforce learned during COVID-19 and government stay-at-home mandates. This webinar is one […]

Jul 17, 2020

Don’t Forget the Human Element

It is important for all businesses big and small to have a Business Continuity plan/program to plan for those events that disrupt business as usual. One important concept to remember is that even though there is a plan for the business, it revolves around people. The Business Continuity Plan is only as good as the… Read more »

Jun 4, 2020

CU*Answers publishes gap analysis report for spring high-availability rollover test

On April 7, 2020, CU*Answers published and announced the gap analysis report detailing the results of the spring high-availability rollover test performed from March 8th through March 15th. During the rollover event, live production for CU*BASE is redirected from systems at the primary data center in Grand Rapids, MI, to identical systems at the secondary […]

Apr 14, 2020

[The Pulse] HA Rollover Results Now Available

[The Pulse] HA Rollover Results Now Available

HA Rollover Results Now Available Rollover: March 8 – 15 Now available for your review is a summary of the recent HA (high-availability) rollover event, performed March 8 – 15.  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… Read more »

Apr 7, 2020

Is Your Staff Ready for the Next Disruption or Security Incident? We Can Help.

Is Your Staff Ready for the Next Disruption or Security Incident?  We Can Help.

A credit union can invest in technology, write comprehensive contingency plans, and check all of the compliance boxes – but if effective response and recovery is not part of regular day-to-day activities, business disruptions can catch you by surprise, last longer than they should, and increase the level of frustration for you, your staff and… Read more »

Mar 3, 2020

Last Chance to Test Connectivity Before this Weekend’s Scheduled HA Rollover

Last Chance to Test Connectivity Before this Weekend’s Scheduled HA Rollover

ATTENTION ONLINE CREDIT UNIONS Perform your connectivity test before this weekend! Don’t forget: the next scheduled HA rollover will begin this coming Sunday, March 8, at 3:00 AM ET.  At that time, CU*BASE core-processing will be redirected from our primary production data center to systems at our high-availability (HA) data center.  We will continue providing… Read more »

Mar 2, 2020

A Note from CU*Answers Regarding Our Large-Scale Pandemic Plan

A Note from CU*Answers Regarding Our Large-Scale Pandemic Plan

With media escalating awareness of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, several credit unions have reached out to CU*Answers asking about our large-scale pandemic plans. Our team would like to share our response with the CU*BASE credit union network. Planning and preparing for disruptive events, whether the result of a natural, man-made, or technology incident, is the… Read more »

Apr 20, 2020