What is a disaster recovery team?
A disaster recovery team is a group of individuals focused on planning, implementing, maintaining, auditing and testing an organization's business continuity and disaster recovery procedures.
Disaster recovery (DR) is an area of security planning focused on enabling an organization to maintain or rapidly resume mission-critical functions following a natural or human-made disaster. Having a team focused on disaster recovery ensures response times and damages to resources are minimized.
Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are often grouped together. DR is data-focused and homes in on storing information so that it can be accessed easily after a disaster. BC encompasses the risk management, oversight and planning an organization needs to stay operational during a disruption.
There are numerous elements to a thorough BCDR plan, and having a designated team to cover these key areas can help ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
Members of a disaster recovery team
A disaster recovery team is typically drawn from a company's existing employees. This can include the chief information officer (CIO) and IT department, stakeholders from various operational units, and service vendors.
Specific roles within a disaster recovery team might include the following:
- Recovery team leader. This might be a CIO, senior IT manager or executive management team member. Their job is to supervise the entire team, coordinate the efforts of each member and ensure an efficient BCDR plan is in place.
- Crisis management coordinator. A crisis management coordinator oversees data recovery management and initiates procedures when a problem or catastrophe arises.
- Business continuity expert. This team member focuses on the strategy required to continue or recover operations in the event of a disaster. A business continuity expert must also make sure that DR plans align with business needs.
- Impact assessment and recovery adviser. This role is usually covered by multiple employees with varying expertise in different components of technology. When a disaster occurs, they are then in charge of assessing how much damage has been done in their specific area and how to fix it. Examples of expertise areas include networks, servers, storage and databases.
- IT applications monitor. This person monitors all technology for a potential disaster and makes sure all individual components work together once recovered.
For a DR plan to be successful, team members' individual responsibilities and authority must be clearly defined. They must know their duties, attend meetings and remain up to date regarding company policies.
Responsibilities of a disaster recovery team
Disaster recovery teams must be knowledgeable about insurance, security, staffing, communications and recovery objectives. They also must take into account technology considerations, such as cloud vs. on-premises DR, ransomware protection and failover plans, and compliance with the necessary regulations.
Further responsibilities of a disaster recovery team might include the following:
- Conducting damage and risk assessments.
- Ensuring all physical locations are accessible, secure and safe.
- Coordinating the contracts of service providers that help with disaster recovery.
- Developing repair plans and schedules.
- Meeting after a disaster to evaluate what worked well and what processes need to be changed.
- Providing training to appropriate employees following an update or a disaster.
- Researching related government and compliance regulations.
- Delegating the specific duties and authority levels of each team member.
- Identifying how best to notify employees of a disaster.