A Brief Overview of Credit Union Disaster Recovery

Increased digital adoption, natural disasters, the COVID-19 epidemic, and corporate mergers all contribute to a greater need for preparedness for disaster recovery.


Statistics show that outages lasting a full day have affected more than 50% of businesses in the last five years. When it came to major losses, 96% of those who had a disaster recovery plan in place survived.


To ensure your business survives these disasters, this article will take you through plans, requirements, and tests for creating and implementing fool-proof credit union disaster recovery plans.

Creating a Credit Union Disaster Recovery Plan

A disaster recovery plan is a documented procedure or set of procedures that are prepared in advance to help an organization quickly recover from the damaging effects of a disaster. There are five main components involved in creating a disaster recovery plan:

●     Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

A BIA is an analysis used to determine an organization’s current state of operation and how it would be affected by the disruption or destruction of critical infrastructure. Here, essential functions, core services, support systems, and available resources during a disaster need to be reviewed.

●     Business Continuity Plan (BCP)

The BCP should include a detailed description of the Credit Union’s mission-critical business functions. Here, identification of key resources and infrastructure required to perform these essential business functions and processes for restoring operations are essential in order to ensure vital services are restored within required service levels.

●     Emergency Response Plan (ERP)

The ERP is the plan that contains the procedures and information required to support an effective response to any Credit Union-related disaster. This plan should include Credit Union policies, data reporting requirements, and governmental crisis management procedures.

●     Minimum Operating Requirements (MOR)

The MOR is the minimum level of Credit Union service that can be expected during, or after, a disaster. The Credit Union must establish this level in order to retain members, meet state regulations regarding industry operation standards, and reestablish operations once the BCP has been activated.

●     Testing and Training Plan

The Credit Union should have a plan for testing all disaster response plans on an annual basis to ensure that its members can rely on these services. Additionally, employees should be trained on disaster response plans and the BCP so they can assist with business continuity when needed.

Now that you know what disaster recovery plans are necessary, let’s take a look at the requirements.

Credit Union Disaster Recovery Requirements

In terms of credit unions themselves, certain requirements must be met according to the National Credit Union Administration‘s (NCUA) Disaster Recovery Plan.

Requirements include:

  • Having a disaster recovery plan in place
  • Ensure members and employees are trained on disaster response plans
  • Conduct annual tests of disaster response plans to ensure business and industry continuity in emergencies
  • Maintain disaster recovery plans and revise them when necessary.

While simple enough to understand, these requirements take a lot of work and preparation. So let’s take a closer look at the next step for disaster recovery: testing.

Credit Union Disaster Recovery Test

The next step is to put your continuity or recovery plan to the test. The objective of testing the disaster recovery plans in place is to see if the strategy will meet your recovery time and recovery point goals with your current critical path infrastructure.


Disaster recovery testing comprises of five main areas:

  1. Process – Start by doing a tabletop exercise first. This ensures that your employees have a basic understanding of the disaster recovery process.
  2. System – Have your IT department operate on servers, data, and telecom completely independent of the rest of the company. This is to verify that they can meet established RPO and RTO goals.
  3. Processes and Systems Combined – Conduct a Disaster Recovery Test that combines the human and technological aspects into one test. This step is quite difficult, but it is a significant milestone in the testing process.
  4. Simulations – Add realism and complexity to the scenario by simulating what would happen in an actual disaster.
  5. Real-Time Disaster Recovery Test – Use your recovery solutions to complete a comprehensive failover and restoration test. Performing a full failure and recovery is the most effective method to confirm and define expectations of an actual event.


We recommend testing annually. Your tests are the only real proof of how your company will perform, and how long it will continue to perform optimally, during a disaster, so you want to ensure the plan operates smoothly at all times.

Key Takeaways:

As you can see, disaster recovery testing is of utmost importance. All industries, but especially credit unions, have much to lose if they don’t adopt strong and adaptable disaster recovery plans.

If you need any help getting started, reach out, and one of our staff members will be happy to take you through the services we offer.

As specialists in the field, allow us to take this all-important task off your hands, ensuring that your business is prepared and robust enough to withstand any disaster.