Definition

disaster recovery team

Contributor(s): Corinne Bernstein

A disaster recovery team is a group of individuals focused on planning, implementing, maintaining, auditing and testing an organization’s procedures for business continuity (BC) and recovery. 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 man-made disaster. Having a team focused on disaster recovery ensures that response times and damages to resources are minimized.

Disaster recovery, a crucial subset of business continuity, is data-focused and hones in on storing information so that it can be accessed easily after a disaster. In addition to disaster recovery, business continuity also encompasses the risk management, oversight and planning an organization needs to stay operational during a disruption.

Concentrating on recovery plans for critical business units is important, but possible strategies for less critical applications should also be considered. When it comes to recovery, organizations should not overlook the integration of applications. Even if individual apps are up and running following a disaster, integration may not work. Also crucial is data synchronization or how related apps with varying levels of backup can be brought back into sync. Having the essential parties represented on the team can help ensure these key elements of the disaster recovery plan work.

Members of a disaster recovery team

A disaster recovery team is typically drawn from a company’s existing employees- from the CIO to the IT department to stakeholders from various operational units to service vendors.

Specific roles within a disaster recovery team could include:

  • Recovery team head- This could 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 BC/DR plan is in place.
  • Crisis management coordinator- This employee 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. They must also make sure that DR plans align with business needs.
  • Impact assessment and recovery advisor- This role is usually covered by multiple employees with varying expertise in different components of technology. When disaster occurs, they are then in charge of their assessing how much damage has been done in their specific area and how to fix it. Examples of expertise areas may be networks, servers, storage and databases.
  • IT applications monitor- This person is in charge of monitoring all technology for a potential disaster and making sure all individual components work together once recovered.

For a DR plan to be successful, team members’ individual responsibilities and authority should be clearly defined, and they must be notified of their duties, attend meetings and remain up-to-date regarding company policies.

Responsibilities of a disaster recovery team

Disaster recovery teams need to be knowledgeable about insurance, security, staffing, communications and recovery objectives. They also must take into account technology considerations, like cloud vs. on-premises DR, ransomware protection and failover plans and compliance with the necessary regulations. Further responsibilities of a disaster recovery team could include the following:

  • Conducting risk and damage assessments.
  • Ensuring that 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 disaster.
  • Researching related government and compliance
  • Delegating the specific duties and authority levels of each team member.
  • Identifying how best to notify employees of a disaster.
This was last updated in May 2019

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