Business continuity is a top priority for credit unions, and today, business continuity focuses on technology resources. Credit unions have learned to cluster critical servers, use hosted services or SaaS, and even to migrate some assets to cloud computing. Yet, far too many credit unions neglect the single, essential technology component of business continuity – connectivity.
Connectivity that provides uninterrupted access to your applications, your other locations, and the Internet, requires both redundancy and bandwidth management. In a nutshell, redundancy refers to multiple circuits on completely different networks. When one circuit drops (when not if), the redundant circuit carries the load. Bandwidth management refers to maximizing your connections' performance, plus monitoring, troubleshooting, and reporting. Bandwidth management puts all your circuits to work; prioritizes data and voice traffic according to your needs; manages your edge security to control who gets in and out and what they are permitted to do; monitors all the moving parts; troubleshoots and repairs inevitable problems; and reports on bandwidth usage and activity.
Credit unions do not have to bear the burden of redundancy design and bandwidth management themselves. There are expert professionals who provide design and management services for you. You will need to choose a true technology partner who customizes your solutions. A cookie cutter boxed solution is unlikely to fully protect you.
You will need a partner-provider who performs the following:
- Business assessment - Engineering and productivity specialists should dive in first to understand your business critical applications, network infrastructure, who would be affected, and your costs and risks if your branch or HQ connections don't work. For example, most financial institutions run all of their financial application servers at the corporate office or at a financial services data center. The teller terminals, all applications, the e-check server, and even the phones use a single connection back to the corporate headquarters.
Your provider should pose questions such as:
- If a branch connection is down or congested, is the branch limited to taking simple deposits and not able to fully serve your members?
- If the headquarters connection is down or congested, are all your sites in essence down, and the home banking servers totally unusable from the Internet?
- During an outage or when your bandwidth is maxed out, are your branches cut off from the phones?
- Do your ATM's go out of service?
- Are your IP cameras offline
- Asset assessment – you may have equipment that is not fully depreciated and/or carrier contracts that would be too expensive to replace at the time you want to implement a truly redundant connectivity solution. Your technology partner should have the expertise and the systems to make sure you purchase only what you need and get maximum value for your spend.
- Expert design and delivery - your provider needs to be staffed with high-level full time technology experts who work with your solution from design to maintenance. Skill levels vary in this field; some providers are more expert than others.
- Service - perhaps the most important aspect of your solution, your service needs to be delivered with passion and commitment. Everyone talks service; your provider must walk their talk.
Connectivity is key to business continuity, and expert connectivity management can turn this burden into a competitive advantage. Atlas Broadband delivers Bandwidth as a Service™ (BaaS™) to U.S. businesses, and specializes in the particular needs of credit unions and financial services. We invite you to contact us to learn more about the role of connectivity in your business continuity planning. Please visit www.atlasbroadband.com, or call 800-549-6626 and ask for a productivity specialist.