Our CEO Don Magin writes about how he and his management team had a stressful couple of hours during Operation Mercury to make sure that our customers’ funds and data are in safe hands if a disaster were to strike.
There was a serious explosion and fire at the Greater Building Society’s head office in Newcastle last week. People were seriously injured and it caused the evacuation of the building which houses up to 400 people.
It didn’t happen in real life, it was a mock exercise lasting several hours.
Operation Mercury tested our procedures and systems to make sure that if, heaven forbid, we were to have such a disaster or a similar event that we could make sure our people and customers are safe, our banking services continue to operate and our customers’ funds and data are kept safe and secure.
As part of the exercise, we acted as if we would activate our multi-million dollar business recovery centre. This specially designed 2,125 sq metre centre is located in another suburb of Newcastle and acts as a duplicate head office. There is space for core staff to work from the centre if The Greater’s head office is out of action for any reason.
The centre has high speed data links to The Greater’s headquarters. As soon as a customer makes a transaction with us, on their mobile, through internet banking or in a branch, independent systems at head office and the new centre are automatically updated ensuring information is current at both locations.
The centre has been in operation for five years next month. It and regular disaster exercises are just one part of the Greater’s comprehensive business continuity and risk management plans.
The Greater’s staff are painfully aware of the problems a disaster can cause. I can still vividly recall when our head office was severely damaged by the Newcastle Earthquake in 1989.
Our customers in NSW and Queensland know all too well about natural disasters of late. The recent floods are a reminder to us all of the need to be prepared for any event.
The Greater Building Society is well prepared for a disaster or interruption to business. When you do your banking with The Greater you can be confident that your money and data is in safe hands.
PS. The exercise was very life-like and stressful but we passed. Such exercises are very worthwhile and I encourage other businesses to put themselves to the test – it is worth it.
Does your business have disaster planning in place? What works well and doesn’t work well for you? Please share your thought’s below.