Disaster Recovery Team
What is a disaster recovery team?
A disaster recovery team is a group of individuals who are tasked with developing, documenting, and executing processes and procedures for an organizations data recovery, business continuity, and IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster or failure.
Every organization should have a group of individuals dedicated to developing and documenting a plan for disaster recovery to ensure data availability and business continuity. This disaster recovery team not only creates the disaster recovery plan, but also is responsible for building and implementing the processes and procedures that will facilitate data recovery and integrity. An effective disaster recovery plan will need to be updated frequently and tested to ensure its effectiveness, so the team will be responsible for these tasks as well. Since disaster recovery can impact all levels of an organization, a disaster recovery team should ideally be a cross-functional group capable or leveraging expertise from multiple departments and addressing a variety of system availability and business needs.
Your DR planning team: Who should be included?
Executive team members won't need to be heavily involved with DR planning, but it's important to have them for oversight. You'll need approval for objectives involving:
- Dealing with obstacles
Crisis management coordinator
The crisis management coordinator should be a business leader who will oversee data recovery management when catastrophe strikes. This person will:
- Initiate recovery plans with the team
- Coordinate efforts, from the beginning of a disaster through successful recovery
- Handle problem resolution as issues arise
- Eliminate factors that are delaying the process
Business continuity expert
Business continuity is a broader initiative, but it's integral to disaster recovery. Business continuity sets out the groundwork and strategy needed to allow business to continue operations, or fully recover operations, if a disaster event does come to pass. It considers the whole of the organization, but focuses on specific technologies and business functions.
The business continuity expert should have two responsibilities in your IT disaster recovery:
- Make sure that the DR strategy and plan is in alignment with business needs, which have been determined by a thorough Business Impact Analysis (BIA). The BIA should be complete before DR planning starts. If you haven't done a proper one, you can prepare an informal BIA just to keep the process moving, but know that a complete, strategic BIA is critical to DR. The proper analysis identifies specific goals and allows DR efforts to support actual recovery needs.
To keep everyone on the same page, the business continuity expert should facilitate open communication between business and IT, making sure they are together in purpose and alignment.
- Confirm that the critical pieces of the business continuity plan are also present in the DR plan. The IT team has the technology know-how, but they might not be aware of some business fundamentals that play a role in an emergency: correct reporting procedure in the midst of an event, contact information for critical personnel and vendors, etc. These are major factors for a smooth, successful recovery.
Training and testing is an essential aspect of any disaster recovery plan. Once the plan is implemented, the team will need to conduct ongoing evaluations to assess its effectiveness. There will be some challenges and problems that no one anticipated during the planning process or during the initial risk assessment. These issues need to be addressed well in advance of the moment the organization needs the disaster recovery plan most. Waiting until a hurricane is moving in on a data center is a bad time to discover that there’s a problem with switching operations over to a cold site recovery solution, for instance. By conducting routine testing, team members become more familiar with their responsibilities in the event of a disaster, which reduces the chances of human error or confusion when that moment arrives.