Disaster Recovery: 5 Tips to Avoid the “Game of Thrones”

Disaster Response: Recovery Site Seating

When any type of disaster takes an organization offline and disrupts its critical functions, incident response teams scramble to address the issue. While IT attempts to reinstate data and communication capabilities, it may be necessary to activate a secondary recovery site.

Astute leadership will have prioritized and allocated obvious resources well in advance. But did anyone remind them to think about team seating arrangements? Yes, it IS a priority.

People tend to be very conscious of seating arrangements; anyone who has attended a formal banquet event can confirm that reality. This holds especially true when confidential communication is required.

Team member seating is a critical consideration for leadership when planning the recovery site work area. In addition to preventing “first come, sit anywhere” chaos, proper consideration and planning will help to streamline recovery site activation and enhance the overall recovery process.

The 5 tips listed below should be considered by anyone in a Business Continuity / Disaster Response role when planning a secondary recovery site.

#1: Co-Locate Interactive Teams

Concentrating in a chaotic environment with limited is space is bad enough without increasing foot traffic by 500% needlessly. Co-locate departments that regularly work together – such as Finance and Payroll – to facilitate productivity and minimize movement.

#2: Recognize Departments Need Privacy

Departments such as Security, Human Resources, and Legal need to conduct their business with a high degree of confidentiality. Locate these personnel in a space that is removed from the main work area so they don’t feel compelled to shuffle about seeking quiet corners to whisper in private.

#3: Label Every Desk by Department

In addition to “inspiring” personnel to comply with pre-assigned seating, this enhances the recovery effort in two ways. First, it puts critical butts in seats to do critical work without the need to mark out their own territory. Second, as department personnel tend to have the same basic work requirements, the work areas will not need to be rearranged before and after every shift change.

#4: Label Every Cabinet by Content

Although this is not a seating issue it supports work area efficiency. Content is situated next to the appropriate department desks, and “Bob the sales guy” doesn’t need to dig through confidential technology assessments to find his lead list and sales sheets.

#5: Suspend Location Signs Conspicuously

People can move desk placards or chair signs inconspicuously if they do not like their assigned seating but climbing a 12-foot ladder in the middle of a crowded recovery site will be noticed by everyone. Location signs should be suspended in close proximity to the labeled department desks and filing cabinets.

If a person who is dissatisfied with the seating arrangement points to a desk placard that has “magically relocated,” point to the suspended sign, smile, and politely tell them to have a seat at the desk they were assigned.

INVITATION: If YOU are a technology professional and have Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery experience you would like to impart, PLEASE feel free to leave your thoughts in the “comments” section below.

Michael I. Kaplan is the Director of Phase2 Advantage, a cybersecurity consulting and training company based in Savannah, Georgia. Michael is also the Chairman of the Cyber Security Advisory Committee at Savannah Technical College. His technical areas of specialization are Incident Response, Business Continuity / Disaster Response Planning, Information Security Management, and Digital / Network Forensics. Feel free to contact Michael at info@phase2advantage.com.

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