All businesses and credit unions do some form of outsourcing. When done strategically, outsourcing specific items can greatly improve your disaster recovery program.
There are two schools of thought related to outsourcing or co-sourcing IT systems. Some institutions focus on outsourcing things that are not so important to their core business — for example, a server for their CUSO or for a test environment. They've decided that if they can’t be the best at a managing a specific system or process, they’ll outsource it instead.
Others choose to outsource the functions that are most key to their membership, including online banking infrastructure, email, and phones. Despite these two opposing perspectives, there are four items that every organization should consider outsourcing as a methodology to improve their disaster recovery plan.
Years ago, email was consistently rated one of the least important items included in a business impact analysis (BIA). It had low recovery time objectives (RTO) and low recovery point objectives (RPO), which caused many institutions to ignore it. The main problem with having this mentality today is that nearly every business process now relies on e-mail, from accounts payable to providing a member a report.
If you outsource email to a reliable partner – these systems will always be functional and the institution will be able to focus its time on member-facing processes instead.
Most institutions require phones to function. Again, a BIA will tell you just how important these systems really are.
Most credit unions spend a lot of money on reliable phone lines (PRIs) from phone carriers and many have made extensive investments in their own VoIP systems or call center telephony. However, to achieve redundancy and eliminate the risk of the phones being down, these institutions must buy two of everything.
Making these systems work redundantly is exponentially more challenging and more expensive than making just one system work. This set-up is also far less forgiving when mistakes are made. Buying a hosted VoIP or Hosted Virtual PBX from a provider is often cheaper, provides reliable connectivity as long as there is an internet connection, and eliminates the risks from many single points of failure.
A Hosted Website
Very few companies host their own website. Usually, what a host can provide is far more advanced than what many credit unions would be able to build on your own. By using an outsourced host and a efficient crisis management plan – credit unions are able to quickly and reliably update their website and ensure their members know what is going on.
Hosted Online Business Continuity Plans
There are a number of key advantages to hosting your business continuity or disaster recovery plans online. It makes the information easier to search and access at anytime, and also ensures that any changes to the plan take place immediately. Click here for a full analysis of the pros and cons of an online plan.
Moving all of these applications outside your own operating environment will accomplish three things. It will save money and time, allow staff to focus on recovering other business processes, and enable the credit union to continue functioning in an actual disaster event.
Would you like to learn more about how the risk from these items can be measured? Would you like to learn how to conduct a risk assessment? Subscribe to our blog to receive the latest tips for enhancing your credit union’s everyday IT efficiency and strengthening your business continuity plan.
Kirk Drake is founder and CEO of Ongoing Operations, LLC, a rapidly growing CUSO that provides complete business continuity and technology solutions. With its recent acquisition of Cloudworks, Ongoing Operations has expanded its market niche and become the leader in hosted solutions for credit unions and their providers. Kirk is a well-known and respected industry leader with over 15 years of experience designing and implementing advanced IT Systems and Disaster Recovery Solutions. Prior to founding Ongoing Operations, he served as Chief Technology Officer for NIH Federal Credit Union, a $400 million financial institution. During his time at NIH, Kirk spearheaded critical system conversions and led many projects to strategically advance the credit union, allowing it to better serve its members. Kirk is also an expert in designing collaborative solutions and developing innovative technology platforms. During Kirk’s tenure at Ongoing Operations, the CUSO has grown to one of the top twenty CUSOs in the nation and successfully recovered numerous clients in actual disaster situations.