Disaster Recovery, Crisis Management Plans and Ownership

When and if a disaster strikes any business operation or organization, what helps the Organization to deal with the crisis effectively, continue to run the business operations to the extent possible and get back on the recovery path are the Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans. However the effectiveness of the plans depends largely upon the preparedness of the teams involved and the ownership.

Any Disaster Recovery or Crisis Management plan involves strategic management decisions as well as commitment of resources in terms of financial resources as well as human resources. Execution of the plan also depends upon the facilitation, effective leadership and control of the team that owns the plans. In terms of crisis the management needs to demonstrate complete ownership over the recovery process.

Who Should Own Disaster Recovery or Crisis Management Plan in an Organization ?

Let us examine the responsibilities and areas of involvement of the leaders who own the Disaster Recovery plan in any Organization. Before we do so, one needs to ask the question as to who should be designated as the leaders or owners of such plans. Ideally speaking the Disaster Recovery involves critical business functions or IT functions. Therefore the primary ownership should lie with the Business Managers who are responsible for the particular function in the Organization. IT Director, Finance Director or other Business Managers in charge of a business Unit would become responsible in their respective areas. Apart from this direct ownership, the senior management too needs to get involved and own the recovery plans and as such they should get involved in monitoring the situation and assisting with decision making and any other way required.

In case of Crisis management, depending upon the nature of crisis and the extent of damage, either the Business Managers or the Senior Management would be required to take charge. In case of any emergency or crisis effecting the entire organization and involves dealing with external agencies, media and other legal formalities etc, the senior management of the Organization would need to step in and take charge of the situation assisted duly by the Business managers and other designated officials as per the plan.

Responsibilities and Role of the Designated Ownership

In helps to define the responsibilities and the role of the Recovery Plan owners to ensure clarity of the concept.

First and foremost the designated leadership needs to be able to understand the gravity of the situation, the extent of damage and loss including financial, revenue loss as well as the loss of reputation and how it affects the market, for this would help him take the right decisions required to protect his organization and eliminate the risk or direct recovery program.

Secondly, it becomes the responsibility of the designated owner to own the plan, to budget, obtain approval, provide and keep ready the necessary resources including hardware and other proposed solutions in stock.

Thirdly, the owner plans and provides for the required manpower resources, monitors and ensure trails and mock drills regularly to ensure alertness and preparedness at all times.

Apart from the knowledge and responsibilities assigned to the designated owner of the Disaster Recovery plans, it is important that he be invested with the required authority and powers to own the program and discharge his duties when required to do so.

As the entire reasonability of getting the business back on its feet depends upon the designated owner, Organizations may designate a suitable senior management person with proven capabilities or form a team to own the plans and responsibilities.

The Disaster Recovery and the Crisis Management Plan would be a detailed document enumerating all the above details in the said plan.

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