Back to blog Communicating Disaster – an Easily Overlooked Part of Your DR Plan

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Communications and your DR plan

As you can imagine, the majority (if not all) of Cloudhelix blogs are all solely about tech. There might be a wider business goal or issue at play, but as cloud consultants, we’re all about the tech. This post is a little different, however; we’re focusing on the communication actions that must sit within your disaster recovery (DR) plan.

Let’s start with the basic premise. Things go wrong, whether that’s somebody’s fault, a freak accident or caused by a natural disaster. It’s IT’s job, as you well know, to ensure that the business can function as it needs to, which includes recovering and preparing from potential disaster. As IT professionals, we focus on the technicalities, the hardware and the what ifs, but within our preparations for backups and recovery, it’s crucial to devote some focus to communication… what happens, who gets told about the issue and how they’re told. Your recovery could be the fastest and best it could be, but still, the rest of the business will want and need to know all about it. Under the pressure of a recovery situation, this isn’t always easy to do clearly and concisely, which is where this guide comes to help.

Before we get started, the general rule with your DR plan is this – the more you can do and plan for now, the less you have to think about when disaster hits.

Who will be contacted?

This could include the board of directors, suppliers, key customers, your team, employees, your marketing or PR team/ agency and many more. You must know who you are contacting, their contact details (check these are up to date, of course) and the order of priority. It’s worth ensuring that everybody who could be contacted also understands what they need to do and how it relates to the other people who are being contacted, but that’s less of your concern. Your disaster communication hit list should allow the message to be filtered down to the necessary people throughout the business – it’s not IT’s job to come some kind of internal communications department, but it is key that IT is able to kick start things off for the business.

How will they be contacted?

Slack, email, text message, whatsapp, a call to a personal phone number, a note to a PA… there are a million and one ways to get in touch with people, so when there’s a lot at stake at and the pressure is on, you need to know how best to reach people. Ensure that your DR plan allows for a personal and work means of communication, that everything is kept up to date and all is circulated with the various parties involved.

What are you going to say?

You know who you’re going to contact and how, now the really crucial bit is the message. This needs to be right, but under pressure, information is missed, panic stricken tones are assumed and acting fast is critical… so let’s ensure everything is written into a template that allows the right message to be delivered while time is is saved. When an incident occurs, it’s simply a case of filling in the blanks and adding some context.

With the right DR plan in place, the face of adversity is an opportunity for IT teams to shine. When it comes to communication, as soon as the initial message is out to relevant bodies, be sure to leave it to the PR, comms, HR or marketing function who will be better equipped to deal with messaging. This is especially important if you work in a business where downtime, data loss or recovery could be newsworthy.

Your DR plan and your IT provider

If you work with a managed provider for DR and or disaster recovery, have a chat with them about your communication plans to ensure you are all on the same page when it comes to an event which could result in downtime. Think about what information you want them to be reporting on, how they can help spread the message and of course get them to sense check your thinking in general.

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If there’s any aspect of your DR plan niggling away at you, why not drop us a line using the form below and one of our experts can offer free and impartial advice as to the best course of action to take. For more information about DR planning, check out our disaster recovery services.

Posted in Disaster Recovery on Jun 20, 2017