The following procedure illustrates at high level the first 24 hours following disaster invocation. This procedure is based on a “warm” recovery service.
Following a disaster, clearly defined steps/actions need to be taken to enable business continuity. During the first 24 hours these steps will fall into the following categories.
Timescales – Immediately (T + 0)
Following a disaster situation the first step that must be taken is to assess the current situation. This will be carried out by the Disaster Co-ordinator, who will decide if the Disaster Management Team needs to be assembled. The team will need access to a Disaster Command Facility, if the primary location is not accessible for any reason. The Disaster Management Team and Command Centre should be detailed, along with relevant phone/mobile numbers and directions in the Business Continuity Plan.
The relevant emergency services should have already been notified of the situation. The Disaster Management Team would act as the main focal point for the emergency services.
It may be necessary to make a pre-invocation call to put the Disaster Recovery service on standby, thereby reducing the response time should the service be formally invoked.
Disaster Management Meeting
Timescales – within 1 hour (T + 1 hour)
If it is necessary to call a formal Disaster meeting, this should happen within 1 hour of the event. It may not be possible to get all members of the team together in these timescales, therefore all essential members should be agreed upon and documented in the plan.
The Disaster Management Team’s main role would be to:
Define the problem
Define the extent of the disruption
Determine the likely impact on your business
Estimate outage length (where possible)
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Invoke Disaster Recovery service if applicable
Formally set up Disaster Command centre
Agree team’s objectives for next three hours
Agree formal verbal report for senior management
Agree on staffing levels needed at the present time
Send non-essential staff home (if during office hours)
Contact non-essential staff at home (if out of hours)
Call in additional staff (if out of hours)
Set up next meeting for T + 4 hours
Disaster Review Meeting
Timescales – within 2 hours (T + 2 hours)
At this stage you should have a much more detailed understanding of the situation. This will enable a full written report to be produced for senior management.
The Disaster Management Team will have by this time:
Invoked the disaster Recover Service (if applicable)
Set up a temporary Disaster Command centre
Mobilise essential staff members
If applicable the warm standby (Disaster Recovery) services should be available by this time to start configuration of the standby systems.
Configuration of Standby Equipment
Timescales – within 2 hours of invocation (T + 4 hours)
Warm Disaster Recovery configurations are normally scheduled to be available within 2 hours of invocation. By this time the site should be ready to receive the equipment. Power and Communications should be enabled and facilities for the essential staff should be available. Additional equipment needing to be purchased may arrive some time after this. The backup media will also have arrived onsite.
Restoration of Data and Testing
Timescales – within 20 hours of invocation (T + 22 hours)
Up to 8 hours may be required to restore and test the system. Comprehensive user acceptance test (UAT) procedures should be documented in your Disaster Recovery Plan to ensure the systems are fully operational before they are announced to be live to the end user.
Systems available to end users
Timescales – within 22 hours of invocation (T + 24 hours)
At this stage you should be able to resume some (or all) of your business activities (depending on the scope of the disaster). It is critical at this stage to plan for full business restoral. These steps should include:
Interim requirement such as larger temporary accommodation
Refurbishment of damaged offices (if applicable)
Identification of new premises (if applicable)
Replacement of damaged equipment
A full Business Resumption plan should also be produced, detailing the transition from the standby facility to permanent offices.