This paper talks about the disaster recovery plan of one of the world’s largest financial organizations, Merrill Lynch, widely known as Bank of America. It is very important for BOA to make sure that the clients and the customers get product and services 24/7. High data availability is very crucial for such organizations. Merrill Lynch’s data centers are pretty big and consist of a lot of hardware, software, and backups. Millions of dollars are spent to make sure that the customers’ data is safe and available all the time. A simple error in computer systems could result in huge financial loss in this business; therefore, we must developed the best disaster recovery plan for Merrill Lynch.
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Merrill Lynch provides product and services to millions of bankers, investors, businesses, and even to millions of people all around the globe. This organization is so huge that it has clients in over 100 of countries throughout the whole world. Business continuity is very important for Merrill Lynch. We have identified all the major applications and functions of our businesses and developed a custom DR plan that is a perfect fit for this company. For Merrill Lynch, high data availability is very important because we want our customers and clients to be connected with our servers and computers all the time in order to run our business functions their businesses as well. Since this is a financial company, we have to make sure that the businesses that rely on us are also safe and sound. Their future is our company’s future. We have designed our disaster recovery plan in such a way that if anything happens to our organization, we know that we are one hundred percent safe.
First of all, we need to answer a very important question before implementing the disaster recovery plan in our corporation. What are we trying to protect in our corporation? Why do we need disaster recovery plan? What are the key assets of the organization? These are some of the questions we need to answer before implementing this plan. Our company needs people, locations, IT technologies, software, hardware, and other tangible as well as non-tangible things that are required to operate our business. All of these things are important to us. In fact, every thing that supports our business continuity plan is critical for our business. Therefore, this disaster recovery plan covers all the methods and procedures to protect all types of things that are important to us. For example, our hot sites are on standby all over the country. This technique of distributing the data in different cities and places is important because if we get hit by a disaster in one place, we know we have data available in another place. Merrill Lynch also has internal and external security parameters that we follow. Some of the external security practice and procedures include having security guards in each of our banking sites and company’s offices all over the world. Our recovery plan is so good that the recovery time is almost nothing. The larger the downtime is, the more money we lose. Furthermore, SLAs are also very important. We always have SLAs available on hand so that we can prioritize the incident in client-based situations. Moreover, we have backups and RAID that are stored and kept safe in different places. “Disaster recovery will continue to evolve with the banking industry. As banks become more sophisticated technology users, disaster recovery solutions will follow. But banks must plan for disaster recovery every step of the way. The key to successful disaster recovery is what happens long before a disaster strikes. With a realistic recovery plan, properly tested and committed to by senior management, banks can effectively maintain operations while providing for the safety of people and assets” (Bronner).
Merrill Lynch’s disaster recovery planning is very effective. We back up all data religiously and test them semi-annually. We have been practicing each and every steps of the disaster plan on servers and even on the entire systems to make sure that we can recover the information we need at any given time. In addition, we have a list of every possible threats and disasters that are out there, and we also have step-by-step procedures on how to mitigate those risks. We have backups of almost everything that we use to run our day-to-day operations. For example, our dedicated servers and computers are very critical to our organizations; therefore, we have backups of all the hardware and software utilities that are needed to keep our servers up and running, which helps us to run our business smoothly and without a single point of failure. After what we have leaned from a massive earthquake in Northern California, we have a very strong and newly designed plan that focuses especially on maintaining operations and computer systems. If we follow the policies and procedures that are documented in the DR, we can provide service to our customers with just a minimal disruption. One measure of the breadth of our business is that Bank of America processes only five percent of all the checks written in the United States. Therefore, maintaining these typed of operations is extremely critical and takes a long time to practice and implement (Longworth & Vliet, 2007).
We backup all out networks, servers, software, and even hardware. We always keep extra computer parts in case if we need to replace anything. Since we are migrating to the cloud backups, we also have backups of backups to make sure that we have the data.
We have the finest disaster recovery planning team in the banking industry. The recovery planning team consists of members from different department levels and different positions. Our disaster recovery planning teams always ensure that the company’s policies and procedures are followed and documented all the time. We test each and every of our plans semi-annually to make sure that the plan works in reality. Merrill Lynch has taken all the steps that are required to keep our assets and people safe from any disaster whether it is big or small.
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In addition, Merrill Lynch is prepared for almost any types of disasters that exist or we could think of. We understand that it is necessary to prioritize the systems that need to be recovered; therefore, we have developed this plan carefully by analyzing every aspects of the business. The disaster recovery teams work along with our business partners, clients, stakeholders, and other members to follow the industry standard practices in implementing the disaster recovery plan.
In the event of a disaster, our customers will not suffer from any data or financial loss. In case of a business disruption, our highly trained teams will be immediately available to make sure that we are back in business. We take the use communication and other emergency services very importantly before and after the events. Our DR plan is so efficient that the recovery time almost feels like nothing. Our organization is a member of FDIC as well; therefore, there is no need to worry about anything at all.
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