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  5. Disaster Recovery – Open Communication And Th...

“Don’t panic, don’t panic!” – shout out to all those old enough to know what this is from. Then again, if you’ve also been in one or more disaster recovery rodeos in the past, then this article is probably not for you as you’ll be more than aware of what not (don’t panic) and what to do (communicate).

We recently wrote about how CEOs and senior management shouldn’t be a Grinch this year – to stop hassling staff while on holiday and turn off, but there’s one thing your business is probably guaranteed over any holiday minimal staffing – shut down period; disaster will strike. Maybe not this holiday, but if it can go wrong, it will go wrong.

During a time of disaster, and the recovery process – communication

Look, we’re not the experts in disaster recovery, but we are experts in effective communication. And, we know one of the main bug bearers of IT teams during times of disaster recovery, is the added stress and hassle of non-techies stepping on your toes every 2 minutes asking for updates. Yep, disaster recovery processes can easily become nightmare recovery processes.

So, how the hell do you get rid of non-essential, non-helpful incoming communication? Here’s how we see the best in the business deal with disaster recovery from a communications perspective.

  1. Shut it down. Yep. Put your blinkers on and shut down direct incoming communication – have a third party bat off any incoming conversations, be it a PA or junior IT member of staff – you need a ‘middle man’ to divert and keep distractions away, but still allowing for any helpful comms. to come through.
  2. Update intranet/external comms. Update internal comms, be it via an intranet or a mass internal email – ensure everyone in the business is aware, that you are aware of an issue in progress. Update external comms, such as a status page with a similar message. These comms. should be short and briefly mention a) aware of issue and working on it b) estimated time of next comms update.
  3. Now everyone is aware when next update is due, comms. you just need to update every 30 mins, however, after an hour, if it looks like this will be a prolonged issue to diagnose/recover from, switch comms to an hourly update.
  4. Looks like an extended down time is required? Update key staff members/management by providing a date & time for a conference call. This will allow you the time to answer questions and estimates for fix, while also allowing senior management to decide on further external communication, allowing you to get back to what’s important; disaster recovery.

Don’t have a conference call provider yet? Get one now – sign up to a service provider online and have it in place as a key form of communication for while you are in disaster recovery mode and probably more importantly, post recovery, to open up dialogue to go through the issues, solutions, fixes in place and what can be done to eradicate such an issue in the future. Tip; get a conference call provider that also has a call record feature, so not to take notes while on call at such a stressful time (mistakes will happen – see best practice for note taking here).