5 Questions to Ask Your Investment Technology Provider about Their Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery PlansWith the worst of the pandemic behind us, many companies are returning to business as usual and focusing less on business continuity planning (BCP). This planning helps firms navigate unexpected environments, and implementing and adjusting these critical practices should be a constant in your business, keeping you prepared even when things are running smoothly.
The Business Continuity Institute notes in their "Evolution of the Resilience Profession over the Next Five Years" report that easing up on your BCP now could create challenges for you later. The organization highlights what they see as real, credible threats for which businesses need to be prepared, including:
- Climate change
- Severe weather
- Political instability
To ensure you’re ready for whatever lies ahead, you need confidence that the systems you rely on will remain performant regardless of the circumstances. If the vendor supporting these systems is not prepared for the unexpected, it can lead to downtime, breaches, and potential losses for your firm. Moreover, it can damage your firm’s reputation.
To see if your technology providers are up to the task, here are 5 questions to ask today to ensure they can keep your system and support up and running no matter what type of threats you may encounter tomorrow.
Question 1: Does Your Technology Partner Have Business Continuity and Redundancy Plans, and Have They Been Tested?
Preparation is the first and most critical step to business continuity in times of crisis. Ask your vendor what their business continuity and disaster recovery plans are. If they updated their plans during the pandemic, are they still current?
To ensure an organization’s preparedness, experts recommend a BCP be tested regularly. Ask your vendor when they last tested their solution and if there were any gaps in their recovery plan.
With many firms choosing to deploy their technology through a cloud-based architecture, you need to ensure you can continue operations through failure and disaster scenarios. This means having a multi-layered, redundant infrastructure with real-time data replication to recovery facilities. Your vendor should also have comprehensive backup and recovery procedures, tested regularly, so you know your data is both secure and accessible.
Question 2: What is Your Investment Technology Vendor's Track Record of Reliability?
Unexpected downtime can negatively impact your bottom line and put your portfolios at risk. So, whether it is a crisis or your day-to-day operations, you must know that your vendor's technology will be there when you need it.
Start by closely reviewing your vendor's track record for reliability. How many instances of reported downtime were there in the past year or two, and how long did these outages last? If a vendor has experienced outages during regular day-to-day operations, can you rely on them when a crisis hits?
Question 3: Have Your Vendor’s Third-Party Partners Been Validated?
Even if your technology vendor is in good shape in terms of business continuity and crisis preparedness, if they are reliant on third parties, those third parties’ lack of preparedness could still mean trouble for your business.
Ensure your vendor has reviewed third-party preparedness to the same extent that you are examining theirs. Ask what they have done to ensure third parties deliver on contractual obligations and what actions have been taken to address potential downtime.
Question 4: Does Your Technology Partner Have Remote Capabilities?
Today, technology allows us to do things that wouldn't have been possible only ten years ago. These capabilities include organizations' ability to function nearly, if not completely, remotely with little impact on critical functions.
Check to make sure your vendor’s network has the capacity to support its entire company remotely if needed and that each employee will have access to the data and applications needed to continue supporting you in a crisis.
Additionally, does your current vendor offer you the flexibility of browser, desktop, and mobile access so that your firm can transition seamlessly to remote work if needed? It's not enough to see the data; you need to be able to act on it as well. When your access is limited, your ability to function and keep up with opportunities will also be limited.
Question 5: How Well Does Your Vendor Communicate with Your Firm?
Effective communication is vital in navigating a crisis. One way to determine how well your vendor will do at crisis communications is to monitor their communications in non-crisis times.
For example, how long does it typically take for someone to get back to you when you have a question or issue? Do you have consistent personnel you can rely on, or do you get shuffled from team to team in search of a solution? Does your vendor staff employees who are experts in their field, individuals you’d feel confident calling on in a crisis?
You can also review your contract or service agreement for notification specifics or ask your vendor how you could expect to receive communications from them in the event of an emergency.
An Investment Technology Vendor You Can Count On
If you don’t have confidence in your investment management system on the day-to-day, you could already be putting your portfolio and your firm at risk, and this risk will only be amplified should a crisis occur.
Fortunately, switching to an investment technology provider you can trust might be easier than you think. For nearly 30 years, clients around the globe have trusted SS&C Eze to help them transition seamlessly from their legacy platforms to reliable technology they can count on to achieve their business goals. We kept our clients’ businesses moving forward during the pandemic, and we continue to make crisis preparedness a priority.