NAB streamlines its enterprise’s disaster recovery processes using ServiceNow’s business continuity management (BCM) module, resulting in improved recovery times from losses.
Head of service management engineering Shawn Srivastava announced the project-a first in the Asia-Pacific region-at ServiceNow’s Knowledge 2022 conference in Sydney.
NAB has used ServiceNow since 2019, initially for IT service management (ITSM), security vulnerability management and HR and fraud case management.
It has recently started using the platform to automate disaster recovery (DR), removing “human error element and manual steps” and leading to faster recovery times.
The move will build on other improvements made to service performance since 2019 – a year when the bank experienced its worst loss rate in three years, with seven “critical incidents” in the first six months. of the year.
Last year, it fell to just two critical incidents throughout the year, according to the bank’s latest annual review.
Srivastava said the three -month project – the brainchild of the ServiceNow platform and IT service continuity teams – came to help NAB navigate the three main challenges of disaster recovery.
“We didn’t keep our plans with DR [and] we have not been agile to return and recover from a disaster, ”he said.
“We use a legacy system and manual processes, and we’ve had a really growing need to support our complex and distributed environment.”
To resolve the issues, NAB looked at the BCM module of ServiceNow for disaster recovery management.
“Using ServiceNow [as our] foundation and the BCM module, we digitized and connected the workflows to all functions, ”Srivastava said.
“The solution integrates seamlessly with our ITSM and CMDB processes [configuration management database]so our tech teams are now more effective at responding to an outage, initiating plans to restore services when our systems fail. ”
“And if the plans don’t work, if we encounter issues, we use the same ServiceNow unified system to create problems and tasks to fix those challenges so we can be better next time.”
Srivastava said NAB is now also using ServiceNow as its “workflow engine,” which has resolved the issue of DR plans not reflecting the production environment.
“One of the challenges we’ve encountered is that DR plans can quickly disappear over time,” he said, adding that even a single piece of missing code can prevent the recovery of a service.
“With the ServiceNow workflow engine, we can now send reminders automatically, [and] verification tasks with plan owners so they can always keep plans correct, update steps, whatever needs to be done-so that when we need to run them, they are accurate. “
ServiceNow’s BCM module also gave NAB the flexibility to plan and test a wide variety of disaster recovery scenarios that were not present in its previous legacy system.
“With legacy systems, we’re limited to testing a few scenarios – data center loss, site loss,” he said.
“What we need to try in addition there is loss of a critical part of the service like internet banking, [or the] loss of a … switch to a data center and how to recover that at the DR site. This system now provides the flexibility to create plans, test plausible scenarios and become better.
DR plans are now in ServiceNow BCM
Srivastava said 1300 DR plans have been moved from NAB’s legacy system to BCM, including for critical services such as internet banking and ATMs, with all but a few instances “not too difficult”. .
“Transformation maps typically take care of loading data from legacy systems, getting all the information in steps,” he says.
“Obviously, there are some complications where the plans are a bit … overwhelming, so we have to split them into smaller segments.”
He said it gave the bank a “really good look at what the underlying infrastructure looks like, what the application looks like. [and] what are RTOs [recovery time objectives] is for those applications ”.
Another consideration is the broader cloud banking change to AWS and Microsoft Azure, which has been underway since 2017.
“We’re on our fingers to make sure that if there are shifts happening along the way, we take care of those apps and redesign recovery plans and activities,” Srivastava said.
In addition to time and efficiency savings, Srivastava said NAB has also “achieved savings by decommissioning our legacy infrastructure hosting [DR] solution we had then. “
But Srivastava said the biggest outcome was the ability to automate recovery tasks, and said it was possible to expand it to other business continuity management processes in the future.
“What stands out to me is the opportunity to automate recovery tasks. Now that everything is a tool, we can harness the power of ServiceNow,” he said.
“If we have automation outside of ServiceNow, we can connect those systems so we have a playbook that we can execute when the DR plan or DR task is supposed to be, and that will give us better significant improvement in the goal of recovery time.
“NAB is the first to transform enterprise disaster recover management using the ServiceNow BCM module across Asia Pacific.”