Implement Disaster Recovery (DR) Processes

The general process of disaster recovery include:

  1. Responding to the disruption
  2. Activation of the recovery team
  3. Ongoing tactical communication
  4. Assessment of the damage
  5. Recovery of critical assets and processes

Response

The first thing to consider when an incident occurs is whether the disaster recovery process is needed.

If the answer is yes, you need to begin recovery procedures as soon as possible.

In many organizations, there is a team dedicated to disaster recovery planning, testing and implementing. They maintain the processes and documentation.

In this phase, the disaster recovery team should be contacted so they can begin communicating with the required teams.

Emergency response team must be prepared for every reasonably possible scenario. This team need to know everything about every company facility: Where to find utility entrances, electrical equipment, HVAC equipment, fire control, elevators, communications, data closets, and so on.

Organizations also must document all the types of responses so that the response teams know what to do.

Personnel

An important fact: People are the most important resource in any organization. So, it must place human life above all other considerations when developing disaster response plans. Organizations can do several things to ensure safety of personnel:

  • Evacuation plans: Personnel need to know how to safely evacuate a building or work center. Also for organizations with large numbers of customers or visitors, additional measures need to be taken so that persons unfamiliar with evacuation routes and procedures can safely exit the facilities.
  • First aid: Organizations must always have enough first aid. It is best for organizations to have training programs for all staff on first aid.
  • Emergency supplies: For disasters that require personnel to shelter in place, organizations need to stock emergency water, food, blankets and other necessities.

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Communications

One of the most important aspects of disaster recovery is ensuring that consistent, timely status updates are communicated back to the central team managing the response and recovery process.

The planning team needs to realize that one or more of the usual means of communications may have also been adversely affected by the same event that damaged business facilities. For example, if a building has been damaged, the VOIP and phone systems might not be working.

Therefore, organizations should have several alternative plans for establishing internal communication (with employees as well as members of the disaster recovery team) as well as external communication (with relief organizations, media, customers, government organizations) so that they can use alternative designs.

For example organizations need to establish in advance two or more ways to locate each important staff member. These ways may include landlines, cell phones, spouses’ cell phones, and alternate contact numbers (such as neighbors or relatives).

Many organizations’ emergency operations plans include the use of audio conference so that personnel can discuss operational issues. So, these organizations should a second audio conference provider established. In addition, organizations must create an emergency communications documentation that it can include dial-in information for both (or all three) conference systems.

Assessment

In this phase, emergency response team must begin procedures to assess damage to buildings and equipment.

For such events as floods, fires and earthquakes, a professional building inspector usually will need to examine a building to see whether it is fit for occupation.

Then, the team dives deeper to look at the specific technologies and services to find out details of the disaster. For example, it is possible that the disaster recovery team has realized at the time of the response phase that the organization’s e-mail system has failed. Now at this phase, the team must check to find out if other technologies are impacted along with e-mail.

Then the next step is determining whether a limited number of personnel will be permitted to enter the building to retrieve needed assets.

Restoration

During the restoration phase, the team performs the recovery operations to bring all services back to their normal state. Assets used in each building may need to undergo their own restoration, whether that takes the form of replacement, repair, or simply placing it back into service in whatever location is chosen.

At this point, if the data center is lost or completely unusable, the best thing is to restore the backups. This is the simplest and most logical way possible.

Training and Awareness

In this phase, most important thing is making sure that all employees are trained response and continuity procedures.

Sometimes, technical teams will gain disaster recovery knowledge while attending training classes or conferences for their technology. But they also need to train in disaster recovery procedures and policies for the organization.

Training and practice helps to reinforce understanding of proper response procedures.