When a national financial services company, headquartered in Los Angeles, needed integrated Business Continuity and IT Disaster Recovery Plans to protect the business and to address commitments that had been made in previous federal audits, they realized that they were ill-prepared internally to effectively execute such a project. A previously attempted initiative to produce the plans was not successful, and time was running out on the audit response. RES-Q™ Services was selected to provide the required assistance.
The company had recently acquired another financial services company of comparable size, and that company did not have Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery Plans in place either. Furthermore, the acquisition expanded the company’s merged physical footprint from three facilities to a new total of seven, plus two separate data centers. At the time of project launch, the operational units of the two companies had not yet been integrated, nor had any organizational charts and reporting relationships been established. Yet the deadline was approaching.
Challenges were many. First, there was a need to identify the best organizational alignment available to identify the business functions which were to be included in a Business Impact Analysis (BIA). The BIA was essential to establish recovery requirements for the business units and the IT applications they required. Second, there was a need to identify all applications hosted in each data center, along with requirements for recovering each IT environment. Then, an organizational structure had to be determined so Business Continuity Plans could be produced for departments in each facility, as well as a Disaster Recovery Plan for each data center. Each of these plans had to be complete and accurate so the company could rely upon them to faithfully guide their response to a business interruption at any of their offices. Finally, training in use of the plans had to be completed to comply with the audit requirements. All of this had to be accomplished within very tight time constraints.
RES-Q™ Services consultants worked with the client to develop a very tight project schedule, which could also be flexible due to the fluid state of the organizational alignment that was slowly progressing. The companies were considered separate for project purposes initially, and a BIA was conducted for all business functions in each company. Data collected from common functions was later consolidated into a final comprehensive assessment. This assessment established business recovery requirements for staffing and applications for each facility, and recovery strategies were identified accordingly.
As this process was being performed, the executive leadership of the new company was finalizing the new organizational alignment. The new organization chart resulting from that effort was used to produce Business Continuity Plans for each facility. Data gathered from the recovery requirements was purified based on the new organization charts as that information became clear.
A similar approach was utilized for producing IT Disaster Recovery Plans (DRP). The two data centers were treated separately as applications and associated IT technical environments were analyzed. Recovery strategies were identified for each center, which became the basis for production of a DRP for each.
Partitioning the project as described, coupled with the RES-Q™ Services consultants’ experience in performing many projects in similar stressful situations, RES-Q™ met the deadline with favorable audit responses.
Most importantly, in the event of a disaster significantly affecting one of its facilities, this company now has the capability to recover its operations, protect their prestigious brand, and assure that its clients can continue to receive vital and timely financial services.