Recovery Teams vs Response Process Approach to Business Continuity Plan Structure

  • February 5, 2013
  • Andy Vanderhoff

Many consultants and software companies advocate using recovery teams as the primary element to structure your business continuity and disaster recovery plans. In the recovery team approach when you build you plans you pre-define each team, assign staff, and then write tasks per staff.

In my experience I have found recovery team approach to be lacking for two reasons:

The individuals you assign to each team are rarely the individuals available during a disaster. Even if you assign backs to each position, sometimes staff members are on vacation when the disaster strikes. Other times your staff’s families are impacted by the disaster and no matter how dedicated they are, they need to take care of their family before focusing on your company.

The second weakness is that it usually takes a large amount of time to maintain a recovery team based planning structure. Each time an employee leaves or changes jobs, you are required to re-build the recovery teams and re-assign tasks. This is time consuming and a very inefficient use of your limited recovery time.

My recommendation is to build a standardized response and recovery process which is the same for every department. In this process you should document your initial response steps, communication channels, disaster triggers and authority, and declaration procedures.

During your continuity exercise you should train each manager on how to implement the response process. Managers should be trained on how to manage the response, recovery and restoration process for their area.

Structuring plans using a standardized response process will ensure that they are not people dependent, but people independent. This approach will also reduce the amount of time spent maintaining plans.

See my free business continuity plan template for an example of how to build a plan.