The Financial Services Technology Consortium is inviting US financial institutions to participate in the creation of a 'business continuity clearing house' as a forum for future co-operation and work on shared disaster recovery services.
The move follows the successful conclusion of a 'shared recovery space' initiative undertaken by the FSTC in association with Bank of America, Comerica, Compass Bank of Birmingham, National City, Wachovia, Wells Fargo, Mastercard, IBM, SunGard, and the Securities Industry Automation Corporation (SIAC).
During the 90-day project, FSTC helped banks who had recovery space available, and those who were searching for recovery space, locate each other and explore bi-lateral sharing arrangements. As part of this, the FSTC project team crafted an initial set of best practices for work area recovery and laid a foundation for interoperable recovery space. These included, for example, minimum requirements for a work area recovery site, from data-processing requirements, to workstation size, to site security needs.
"The project proved that financial institutions can better prepare for continuing critical business operations during an event by cooperating," says Charles Wallen, SVP, Bank of America. "We now have a group of financial service providers with common intent and common challenges exchanging information on work recovery issues in a formal, structured forum and have set up the conditions for more extensive collaboration in actually creating shared work spaces to reduce risk and cost."
Representatives of other participating financial institutions agree. "We proved that we can gain great value by working together," says Aaron Gani, Senior Vice President at Wachovia. "We are incorporating many of the ideas we shared during this project into the processes of our organisation."
The sharing of information and ideas proved to be the primary benefit for many participants. "As a result of this project, I know I can pick up the phone and discuss our situation and challenges before and during a disaster," says Aaron Meckler, corporate business continuity planning compliance officer at Wells Fargo.
For the future, the FSTC project team documented a vision of a 'business continuity clearing house' that would function as an umbrella structure with the purpose of coordinating FSTC's activities in the business continuity space.
FSTC is now looking for participation from additional financial institutions, industry vendors, and associations in developing working agreements and operations for actual shared space arrangements and in defining and standardising the best practices necessary to accelerate recovery times, lower cost, and increase the effectiveness of recovery solutions.