A disaster recovery team is the group in an organization tasked to develop, document, and execute processes and procedures for data recovery, business continuity, and IT infrastructure repairs in case of an attack or failure.
Think of it as a race car’s pit crew that ensures it will run efficiently throughout a race.
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Who Are the Members of a Disaster Recovery Team?
Like any other kind of team, a disaster recovery team comprises several people from various departments. It typically includes:
These members don’t participate in disaster recovery planning, but it’s good to involve them because you’ll need their approval for strategies, policies, budgets, and other management-related obstacles.
Crisis management coordinator
Typically a business leader is tasked to oversee data recovery management when disasters strike. He or she initiates recovery plans, coordinates efforts from the start through successful recovery, handles problem resolutions as issues arise, and eliminates factors delaying the process.
Business continuity expert
He or she has two primary responsibilities:
- Ensure the disaster recovery strategy and plan complies with business needs. It should identify specific goals and allow disaster recovery efforts to support actual needs. In this role, the expert needs to keep everyone on the team on the same page. As such, he or she should facilitate open communication between the business and IT teams.
- Confirm that critical business continuity plan points are also present in the disaster recovery plan. The expert should keep in mind that while the IT team are the tech experts, they might not be aware of business fundamentals that play a role in an emergency. They may not know the proper reporting procedure or who to contact and how.
Impact assessment and recovery team
These specialists are the heart of the team and have the most expertise. This team’s members should represent four critical components of the organization’s IT infrastructure—networks, servers, storage, and databases. Each member or subteam should identify, implement, and test the solutions and strategies that will ultimately recover operations.
What Does Disaster Recovery Entail?
When problems arise, the disaster recovery team should take care of these corporate network components:
- Network and telecommunication equipment: The team needs to understand your network infrastructure and be thoroughly familiar with recovering operations if connectivity fails. Note that disruptions will make it difficult for personnel to communicate internally and externally.
- Servers: The team needs to know your server and operating system (OS) infrastructure by heart. They should also understand what replication and backup technologies to use. And since virtual machines (VMs) are the norm, they need to be aware of the differences between virtual and physical environments and their implications to disaster recovery.
- Storage: Replication and data protection have to do most with storage devices. The team needs to have experience dealing with problems in both physical and virtual storage environments.
- Databases: These hold the application and other data and can operate on shared or individual servers or might be shared among applications. The team needs to know all about data protection.
Does Every Disaster Recovery Team Need a Disaster Recovery Plan?
The quick answer is yes, as the plan dictates who the members of the disaster recovery team are, what they should do in case catastrophes occur, and more. A disaster recovery plan answers these five questions:
1. Who are the members of the disaster recovery team?
The plan should identify the team members, define each member’s responsibilities, and provide their contact information.
2. What are the organization’s disaster risks?
All risks, including natural disasters, human-made emergencies, and technology-related incidents, need to be identified and assessed. That will help the disaster recovery team identify the strategies and resources they need to recover from any disaster within a specified time frame.
3. What are the organization’s critical applications, documents, and resources?
Critical business processes should remain operational, so disaster recovery plans should focus on short-term survivability.
4. Where should data be backed up and stored?
Questions like the following need answers here:
- What needs to be backed up?
- Who should back data up?
- How should the information be backed up?
- Where should backup data be stored?
- How frequently should the data be backed up?
5. How do you make sure your disaster recovery plan works?
Disaster recovery planning is a continuous process since risks always change. All plans should be regularly evaluated for effectiveness and appropriateness.