November 05, 2012

As Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc across the northeastern United States last week, many banks made sure to be in constant communication with customers regarding service updates and even providing safety tips.

But just as important as customer communication is during a disaster, so too is securing important data centers and IT infrastructure that keeps banks' operations running.

[ Banks Prepare For Sandy Onslaught ]

In order to mitigate data loss due to disaster, Citi disperses its data processing geographically to minimize the risk of loss of any one facility, according to spokesperson Janis Tartar.

Tartar says that Citi has "comprehensive business continuity plans" in place, and before a storm of Sandy's magnitude the bank's preparations include testing generators, filling fuel tanks, securing loose materials, bringing in spare parts and supplies and making accommodations for critical staff to stay nearby and be available. The bank also arranges with key vendors in advance to respond to unexpected conditions.

"People, locations and technology are the primary basis for our business continuity planning," Tartar says. "We must have sufficient diversity on all three of those fronts. Hurricane Sandy reinforced that our business continuity plans are effective and executable. We've been proud to see that all of the continuous work that goes into planning and testing allowed us to seamlessly transition to our continuity sites during this event."

Wells Fargo said it also regularly tests its business continuity program as it prepares for risk mitigation during a disaster. Bank of America said its backup power functioned as normal for all its facilities affected by the hurricane, while maintaining critical staff on-site.