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What is a Disaster Recovery Team and Who Should be on One?

Unplanned downtime or a business-immobilizing incident, whether a natural disaster or malicious attack, will impact all levels of an organization. Your disaster recovery team is responsible for building your organization’s disaster recovery plan, developing the plan’s processes and procedures, and implementing the plan in the event of a crisis to ensure data recovery is possible. Having a recovery plan is critical, yes, but just as important is the team of individuals dedicated to bringing your business back online successfully. So, who should you put on your disaster recovery dream team?

Ideally, you want a cross-functional team from multiple departments who can leverage their expertise to cover all areas of risk within an organization. Let’s take a look.

Disaster Recovery Coordinator
Also known as a crisis management coordinator, this person should be a business leader within your organization who will oversee the execution of your disaster recovery (this is primarily IT-focused) plan as a whole. They will confirm that your disaster recovery plan aligns with business needs already determined through your Business Impact Analysis (BIA) and that members of the disaster recovery team are notified. This person initiates recovery plan protocols and coordinates the efforts of the IT team through each step of the plan from the beginning of a disaster through to a successful recovery of assets.

A good example of someone who could assume this role would be: someone in your upper-level IT management.

Critical Business Unit Advisors
While your advisors do not handle much of your disaster recovery planning, they will work as a committee to evaluate and determine strategy, budget, policy considerations and select members of the disaster recovery team. They’ll help oversee the process and planning and have key insight into knowing each department’s downtime tolerance.

These advisors would likely be: Heads of each department or C-level executives.

Business Continuity Expert
Business continuity is an integral part of your disaster recovery plan. This role considers the company-wide initiatives and strategy and ensures that non-IT recover aspects of your organization happen. This could include establishing temporary workplaces and telecommunications and resources so your organization can return to work as quickly as possible. Your business continuity expert acts as the main point of contact between the IT department and rest of the company to facilitate open communication throughout the organization.

Your business continuity expert could be: a Human Resources or PR manager.

Recovery Team
These are the men and women who have the most responsibility in the event of an actual recovery process. This team is your IT experts who are pulled from each unit of your IT infrastructure to cover your network, servers, databases and storage. They understand what is unique to your IT landscape and know how to implement strategies to uphold the integrity of your infrastructure.

Your recovery team members could be: managerial level experts from each division of your IT department.

Once you have you dream team created and plan developed, it’s crucial to make sure that your disaster recovery plan is tested, and your team is trained on the process. Running your disaster recovery plan the first time in an actual emergency event is not the time to discover you are unable to switch operations over to a recovery site or your communications system is not working. Conducting routine and ongoing testing helps members of your team to be more comfortable with their roles and responsibilities and learn to work more efficiently as a team. Don’t forget to make adjustments to your plan as needed, because you will never have a “final draft.” Make ongoing evaluations of your plan’s effectiveness part of your routine planning in conjunction with changes and updates to your operations, solutions, infrastructure and staff.

And if you don’t have IT experts on your staff? You can easily outsource to a managed services provider who have specialists that will work with you as an extension of your team. Give us a call to see how we can help.