The digital age means that business continuity and living will planning is essential for banks.

Business continuity can aid “living wills”

Stephen Perkins

Anything that can go wrong will on a long enough timeline. The growing power and influence of hackers, for example, are forcing many organizations – including banks – to accept that it is not so much a matter of if a breach will occur, but when.

This is one of the reasons that banks and other financial institutions are required by law to develop a living will. According to Forbes contributors John Beattie and Charles Iannuzzelli, given the reasonable chance that a big enough problem could arise to shut the whole organization down, plans must be established for the properly dissolving remaining assets in the event of operations being severely and negatively effected – or doors being permanently shuttered. 

But the inability to know exactly what is waiting around the corner comes coupled with the fact that more is being learned about these issues everyday. With new understanding must come a revision of what was previously accounted for. This can be cumbersome for living wills, however. Beattie and Iannuzzelli pointed out that many of these documents are created and maintained through the Microsoft Office Suite and can reach "several thousand pages" in length, making them insanely difficult to keep continuously updated. 

Business continuity strategists need to be included in planning
According to the Business Continuity institute, proper BC deals will "improving resilience" in terms of continuous data protection.

"It's about identifying your key products and services and the most urgent activities that underpin them and then, once that 'analysis' is complete, it is about devising plans and strategies that will enable you to continue your business operations and enable you to recover quickly and effectively from any type disruption whatever its size or cause," the organization wrote.

Similarly, living wills deal with a lot of factors regarding "the interdependency mapping between all the bank's operational assets," according to Beattie and Iannuzzelli. Business continuity plans are related in that they deal in "operational disruption events." The two are directly intertwined with the procedures that must be taken into account in the event a major problem should arise. 

This is why financial institutions that are trying to get a handle on their living wills should look toward those involved with business continuity for assistance. Beattie and Iannuzzalli already understand "how all this data fits together," and in many cases it may be utilized in a way that it can be readily reapplied to the living will process.

"Establishing a partnership across your risk management, legal, business continuity and third party regulatory advisors should take some of the pain out of developing and maintaining your Living Wills and adapting them to the inevitable changes in regulatory requirements," they said. 

Tools for effective business continuity implementation
Before these two areas of the company in question can intersect with one another, extra attention needs to be focused on the means by which business continuity is facilitated. One of the biggest hurdles to clear in this area is the subject of system backups. While it may seem easiest and most cost-effective to just make frequent updates to external hard drives, this can prove just as complicated and time-consuming as trying to revise a living will in real time.

This is why offsite backup can be an essential addition to any BC or living will strategy. This method puts redundancies of sensitive information and critical system settings into the hands of trained professionals. By unloading some basic yet crucial data management responsibilities, those tasked with developing emergency procedures can be left to figure out how best to execute them without having to worry about frequent updates.

Categories: Data Compliance, Data Protection, Disaster Recovery, Online Backup