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We're not in Kansas anymore

A tornado whips through your town and flattens every building in sight – including the local bank. What’s your disaster recovery plan?

This was the situation facing 83-year old Greensburg State Bank in Kansas after an F5 tornado levelled its home town on 4 May.

In spite of their personal property losses, by Monday, 6 May at 9 am, bank employees had erected a tent outside the destroyed bank building and reopened. Later that day, the bank's technology supplier Fiserv managed to re-configure a salvaged laptop rescued from the debris to transmit electronic debits and credits through the automated clearinghouse (ACH).

The following morning, the vendor delivered newly-configured personal computers which allowed the bank to access all its banking processes, and created a secure connection into the Fiserv data centere. The bank, with assets of $54 million, had complete access to its computerised applications over this secure Internet access line to navigate accounts and records, and make transactions.

As disaster scenarios go, this is a pretty extreme example. So, hats off to Greensburg State Bank and Fiserv for pulling off a remarkable recovery.

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