Disaster recovery template mania?

A disaster recovery template has its uses. If you’re stuck for ideas about how to lay out your DR plan or if you need a quick-fix solution until you can revisit it in depth, a template that covers the main points can be a boon. It’ll probably be generic, because templates have to be usable by different types of organisation. For that reason, it won’t necessarily provide answers about any specific aspects of your business, although it can help you to uncover them by asking you suitably worded questions. So it’s when DR templates start to become overly specific that a doubt may creep in.

After all, different organisations pursuing the same objectives may still have different infrastructures and different strategies. How can any generally available disaster recovery template credibly address all the possible variations at those levels? That doesn’t stop a plethora of such documents being available over the Internet. The choice is vast: business impact analysis template, network disaster recovery plan template, service level agreement template, incident response template, SMB business continuity template, emergency communications template, DR budget template, pandemic recovery template…

It’s not the quality of these disaster recovery templates that is questioned, but their relevance. There’s a parallel that can be made with coaching in business. The more a coach knows (or professes to know) about the particular role of the person being coached, the more chance there is of the coach providing answers and thus limiting the opportunity for the person being coached to find their own “self-optimised” solutions. A good coach can be effective by applying pure coaching technique without having to know the detail of the person’s function. Similarly, the best DR template might be the one that gets you to ask your own questions – and answer them, rather than one that boxes you into a narrow perception of a particular aspect of disaster recovery.