Disaster recovery planning for financial institutions

Disaster recovery planning is important for any business, but it is especially important for financial institutions because of the sensitive and confidential data that they are handling.

Damage from the floods across South-East Queensland and New South Wales is expected to hit over $2.5 million and cut economic growth by 0.25% this quarter.

It will take many businesses weeks, months, or years to fully recover – and some never will. That’s why it's so important that you start planning now.

What is disaster recovery planning?

Disaster recovery planning (DRP) is the process by which an organisation's IT infrastructure and data are restored after a major disruption. DRPs are an essential part of any financial company’s business continuity plan, and it should be done with the help of professionals, as it can be very complicated.

While many factors affect what you should include in your disaster recovery plan, there are certain elements that are always necessary. These elements include:

  • your organisation's mission statement
  • vision for your business
  • risk management strategy
  • IT infrastructure and hardware needs
  • critical data protection procedures
  • disaster recovery plan goals

The importance of a DRP for financial institutions

Financial institutions are at a higher risk of being attacked by cybercriminals, and the effects of natural disasters on them can be catastrophic for their customers. This is because they store a lot of sensitive information and valuable data that can be used to steal money or commit fraud.

A disaster can happen at any time, and financial institutions of every kind need to be prepared. Your company needs to have a plan in place that will allow them to recover from a disaster as quickly as possible.

A DRP for financial institutions should include a detailed backup of all data, hardware, and software. It should also include an offsite backup location in case the primary location is destroyed or inaccessible due to a natural disaster. Your company should also have copies of all critical documents stored away from their main office so they can access them, even if the building is no longer available.

Threat awareness

One of the topics that should be taken into consideration is threat awareness. Threats like ransomware or cybercrime can lead to data loss, which in turn can cause a financial institution to lose money.

To prevent this from happening, you need to assess your systems and identify what risks are present and how you can mitigate them. If you identify threats early enough on, there is still time to take action before they have an adverse effect on your business.

Creating a DRP

A DRP goes hand-in-hand with your Business Continuity Plan (BCP). The steps in this plan will help you prepare for coping with the aftermath of any type of disaster.

First, conduct a risk assessment. After evaluating your current infrastructure, you'll be able to identify which departments or facilities are most vulnerable to disasters. You can then put in place a plan of action for each area.

You can also create a contingency plan for employees who may be out of work due to the disaster. If an employee has been laid off due to the disaster, they will be able to access unemployment benefits and other financial support as needed during the recovery period.

It's also important that you take steps to reduce your business’s exposure to potential disasters by implementing preventative measures, such as firewalls or antimalware software.

Steps to creating a DRP:

  • Establish what types of disasters could affect your company.
  • Create a spreadsheet that lists all the possible risks and their corresponding actions.
  • Identify which documents are needed for each risk.
  • Create a master list of who needs to approve certain tasks.
  • Decide on how often you'd like to meet to review and update your plans.
  • Build relationships with local authorities, such as fire departments.
  • Create a contact list for when things go wrong so that you can quickly notify appropriate people about the situation.

Maintaining your DRP

Maintaining a DRP is crucial. It is not just about the plan, but also about the process of testing and reviewing it. A common mistake that many companies make is to forget to review their plans until disaster strikes. If you are waiting for the worst to happen before you test your DR plan, you will lose precious time and resources.

It's important to review your DR plan on a regular basis in order to maintain it, test it, and keep it up-to-date with any changes that may have occurred in your company or industry. You should include this as part of your company’s standard operating procedure

Planning in advance

Disaster recovery is a key component of a business continuity plan and a crucial disaster recovery plan can help keep your business running after a disaster.

A well-designed disaster recovery plan will provide you with the information you need to assess your risk and build reliable solutions. Make sure to research the type of disaster that poses the greatest threat to your company before it’s too late, and give your disaster recovery plan the necessary attention so it’s prepared for anything.

The cybersecurity consultants at Essential Tech have all the expertise and tools to help you craft a disaster recovery plan customised to your financial institution, and takes into account any and all disasters that you may face. Talk to them today and be prepared.

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