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DuPont Community Credit Union

When it comes to cooperation and networking, few types of organizations can even begin to come close to the levels that credit unions acheive. With their one hundred year plus commitment to member service, credit unions’ culture brings strong service and value principles to Credit Union Service Organizations (CUSO). A case in point is Ongoing Operations which is a disaster recovery/business continuity CUSO located in Hagerstown, MD. The CUSO serves over fifty credit unions nationwide, including Virginia-based DuPont Community Credit Union. With nine branches, two hundred employees and tens of thousands of members, DuPont Community Credit Union is faced with complex organizational and technical challenges should they ever face a disaster. Kimberly Dean, Senior Vice President of Technology and Lending at the credit union, and her staff are tasked with a significant portion of the responsibilities surrounding maintaining the credit union’s business continuity efforts. While attending the Credit Union InfoSecurity Conference in 2006, Dean met Kirk Drake who was a speaker at the conference. She and Drake, President and CEO of Ongoing Operations, struck up a conversation that led to a friendship and a subsequent business meeting with DuPont CCU’s senior management team. Dean recalls that “from the very outset we very impressed with Kirk and all of his team. It was obvious that they we passionate about what they were doing and truly understood the specific needs of credit unions.” After the initial presentation, not only did DuPont Community Credit Union sign on for Ongoing Operations services, but they also invested in the CUSO by becoming a full member. Dean says that “when we reviewed their services and toured their facilities, we knew that it would be an excellent investment for us.” The credit union especially liked Ongoing Operations commitment to working with their various business units, not just their IT Department. The highly experienced team at Ongoing Operations – most of whom come from credit union backgrounds – spent a great deal of time onsite at the credit union charting their workflows and daily processes. Their work also generated an impact analysis, and according to Dean, “this really assisted us in prioritizing exactly where our resources need to go and helped us set business expectations.” The impact report covers the full gamut of issues that the credit union may face in times of emergency: financial, technical, reputational, member-facing, data loss, etc. Once the credit union and Ongoing Operations developed the initial report and priority list, they were able to put together a comprehensive business continuity plan. Naturally this entailed quite a bit of work for all parties - Dean describes it “as months of weekly meetings and actions items, but it all went smoothly and on schedule. The Ongoing Operations staff made sure that the whole process was well run and organized from start to finish.” She emphasizes that “while it was a lot of hard work, their team was fun to work with and they really understand how credit unions work from the inside out. They treat us like we treat our own members.” One particular technical area that DuPont CCU was looking for assistance with was ensuring that their email system was always available. Dean explains that “like most organizations, our staff relies on email. We needed our email system to have extremely high availability with virtually no loss in connectivity or data.” The credit union considered various options, but they were all quite expensive and fairly complicated. Not coincidently, Ongoing Operations had also done due diligence on numerous email continuity solutions and had settled on Teneros’ Application Continuity Appliance. Dean and her team had also researched Teneros and had come to the conclusion that Ongoing Operations had again made the right decision. “We helped Ongoing Operations test and rollout the Teneros appliance,” says Dean, and “it is an affordable system that requires very little maintenance and administration.” Besides not requiring any changes to the employees’ desktop email client software, the system can automatically failover on the server side from DuPont CCU’s headquarters to Ongoing Operations’ world class data center should there be a problem. The Teneros appliance, along with Ongoing Operations support, had solved the credit union’s email availability concerns by delivering peace of mind via 24/7 end-user email continuity. Even with their email system safeguarded, a well thought out business continuity plan in place, and several success tests conducted, DuPont Community Credit Union knows that emergency preparedness is a never ending journey, not a destination. Dean points out that “there are always incremental improvements that we, and Ongoing Operations, need to make. But we have made great progress and the people at Ongoing Operation are extremely helpful, knowledgeable, organized, and ready to expand and grow. They have met and exceeded all of our expectations.”

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