Regardless of how detailed your backup and disaster recovery (DR) plans are, they’ll fail without the right people. For any business, a disaster can be a turning point. If they can recover effectively, they’ll be OK. If they can’t, they can lose thousands or even end up closing their doors for good. So, who are the right people to make sure that doesn’t happen? What skills should they have? And how will you coordinate their activities? Let’s get to business.
Assembling a DR Team
Depending on what kind of disaster you’re facing (and what resources you have), your team will include a variety of people with unique skills. Some will help with the planning stage. Others will help after something bad happens. Here’s a look at the kinds of people involved in planning and response.
DR Experts – If you’re not an expert in disaster recovery strategy, you may want one to help draft DR plans. These complex, detailed documents determine your success and should include recovery objectives, dependencies, and diagrams that outline what various recovery scenarios look like. Consider a DR consultant if you’re not sure where to start.
Business Continuity Experts – IT disaster recovery is just a part of a business continuity (BC) strategy. For many, it’s wise to include someone who can create a full-scale BC plan. This includes IT but extends to everything that keeps a business running. It can include staffing to supply chains, and so on. As with DR, there are consultants who can help if you’re not an expert.
Executive Team – Whether you’re building a plan for your company or your client, you need decision makers who understand your purpose. They should be aware of DR plans and resource requirements, so you get what you need. Together, you’ll determine what’s possible given budget, staff, and other resource considerations.
Catastrophe Manager – Think of this person as the project manager for disaster recovery. This person coordinates people, resources, and timelines, so that everyone works together efficiently to get business up and running.
Recovery Techs – These are the people with boots on the ground. They’ll go onsite or remotely evaluate issues and report them to the catastrophe manager. Next, they’ll fix issues after coordinating an approach with their team and the catastrophe manager.
Contractors – Do you have everyone you need on staff, or will you need to call in additional help to help during a downtime event? Consider who in your area might be able to lend a hand when you want extra help. Talk to them to understand their rates and capabilities, then set some expectations on how you can work together.
Utilities Providers – While not directly on your team, it’s wise to have contact information for primary and secondary utility providers. If you or a client experiences power failure or network outages, getting utility providers to act quickly is crucial to your success.
Plans and Objectives
Whether you’re using contractors or your staff, you must be able to honor commitments you make with clients or objectives you set as a business. These include:
- Your service-level agreements. Your SLAs should cover what constitutes an emergency and what doesn’t as well as how quickly you’ll respond.
- Recovery objectives. How quickly must you recover a certain system or piece of equipment? How often are various pieces of hardware backed up?
- DR plans. When disaster happens, which specific actions will you take to remediate? Who will do what and how will they do it?
To hit objectives, you must be sure that the people executing your plans know what you expect of them. Make the following things clear to your team:
- How you will contact them in a real emergency and how quickly they should expect to respond.
- Primary communication methods, and what the backup is if the main one fails.
- Who leads which activities following an emergency. (You? A catastrophe manager?)
- How you are sharing DR plans and other information with staff so that they can act quickly when they’re needed.
Having a team is half the battle. Once you have them, they must be able to act quickly in a disaster scenario. That’s why you should test your plan and their abilities. The worst time to test is during a disaster. Be sure to set aside a day each quarter to go through potential DR scenarios. Only then will you be sure your team can execute plans effectively when a real disaster occurs.
Are you curious how the right DR solution can improve your ability to recover? Consider how StorageCraft can help with data protection and recovery.