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Security and Disaster Readiness Planning

As a financial institution, countless people and businesses rely on you every day for your services. Maintaining your daily operations is vital to your organisation, which means that unexpected dangers present a huge threat. Such risks may include criminal activity, natural disasters or terrorist acts.

To prepare for the unexpected, you should review your security and disaster readiness plans to help you minimise the impact of any potentially threatening situation.

Without prior planning, you leave your company open to financial disaster, especially if you must close operations for an extended period. In addition, without a proper plan to cope with a disaster situation, your company may face legal actions from clients claiming negligence in protecting their assets or maintaining business operations in critical times.

Security Measures

Financial institutions are extremely vulnerable to outside crime, namely robberies and violence. It is important to take action before a disaster to assess your facility security and make improvements, if necessary. Though not all security threats are avoidable, some situations are preventable with appropriate preparation.

  • Advise management and employees to report any suspicious persons or activity in or around the facility.
  • Survey locks, fences, exterior lights and other physical security devices to ensure that they are in place where needed and in proper operating condition. Establish a monthly inspection of your security perimeter and key protective features of your facility.
  • Evaluate critical locations in your facility for proper security, including the electric, telephone and gas units, storage vaults, building entrances, transformers and computer rooms.
  • Be sure all employees know how and when to activate your security alarm system.
  • Make sure that fire suppression systems are regularly inspected and maintained. Also be sure that a sufficient number of trusted personnel know how to activate, operate and shut them down.
  • Closed-circuit television can serve as an excellent crime deterrent, and when the system is equipped with a recorder it can help solve crimes.
  • Review your procedures for issuing facility keys and access cards, especially for access to vaults and other secure areas. Keep lists of who has been issued keys/cards and have a procedure for handling a situation when a troubled employee is terminated without returning them.
  • Discuss security with your local police force. They are often very willing to provide information and support to local businesses.
  • Have your local fire service conduct a pre-planned visit to your building. While there, they can identify potential hazards and plan fire suppression priorities.

Preparing for a Disaster Situation

  • Be sure to discuss terrorism and applicable natural disaster cover with your RS Risk Solutions Ltd representative.
  • Keep copies of insurance policies and other critical documents in a safe and accessible location (such as a fireproof safe).
  • Evaluate which disasters are most likely to occur in your area, remembering to include the possibility for terrorist activity. Be sure you are prepared for all of the risks you identify.
  • Develop a Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity Plan. If you already have one make sure that it is up-to-date. This entails preparing for anything that disrupts your business operations and planning for a backup option. You may consider identifying backups for essential operations, personnel, sensitive records, data processes and communication channels.
  • If you are forced to temporarily close, you should have strategies in place for your customers to be able to access their funds, where feasible, and should have a communication policy set up to inform customers of the situation.
  • Review your policy for off-site backup of EDP records. Ideally these records should be backed up and transmitted or sent off-site on a daily basis.
  • Have telephone call lists available (include mobile phone and pager numbers) for all key personnel so required staff members can be contacted during non-working hours from any location.
  • Consider establishing an alternate method for your phone service if the switchboard becomes unusable (such as forwarding incoming calls to a mobile phone or remote number).

Check available emergency supplies such as torches, batteries, emergency generators/fuel, patching materials such as plastic sheeting, duct tape, spare fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, etc.

The following information is not exhaustive, nor does it apply to specific circumstances. The content therefore should not be regarded as constituting legal or regulatory advice and not be relied upon as such. Readers should contact a legal or regulatory professional for appropriate advice. Further, the law may have changed since the first publication of this information.

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