Testing and Training
April 25, 2018 - What do you think would happen if a Broadway play had no rehearsals? The actors all know their lines, but now the curtain is going up and nobody knows where to stand, where to exit, or where the props are. So they each know their parts but they have no idea how they work together. That play would probably close right after opening night. So what would happen if you had to use your business continuity plan(s) in a crisis without any kind of rehearsal? Would your people know what to do, where to go, who's in charge? We doubt it. Here are some tips on testing that will help your plan work when it's called on.
1. Test the Plan, Plan the Test -- Why Successful Business Continuity Plans Are Put into Action before a Crisis
75 percent of companies without a continuity plan fail in three years after facing a disaster. Those companies unable to get back up and running in 10 days post emergency do not survive at all. A business continuity plan provides your company with the roadmap to navigate a major business disruption, including a natural disaster or large-scale emergency. However, having a plan in place is only the first step; the plan also needs to be continuously monitored and tested for gaps or obstacles.
Business continuity and disaster recovery plans are useless until you test them. Fortunately, many types of tests are possible, ranging from the standard disaster recovery testing administrators perform to ensure applications and systems fail over to another site, to the more complex business continuity testing that requires company-wide involvement. The key to success is to incorporate testing as part of the overall business continuity/disaster recovery management process.
So although many organizations may think that they have robust security policies in place, how well drilled are they at responding to security incidents when these occur? When was the last time that these procedures were tested? Do employees from all departments know what to do just as they would when the fire alarm goes off 11am on a Tuesday morning?
Testing for integrated End-to-End Continuity is, ideally, a detailed and systematic review of the organizational continuity plans, processes and procedures to determine their level of adherence to, and compliance with, the organizations pre-established standards and policies, and their alignment with the industry best practices and international continuity standards.
Desktop exercises are instrumental in getting staff and others involved in business continuity, especially if they're -- dare I say it -- interesting and fun for those taking part. To help in making your exercises successful, here are 19 top tips, listed in no particular order.
How well do you really know your plan? Chances are you really don't know if your recovery plan is going to work until you test it. Because no matter how good you are at determining requirements and developing plans, no one gets everything 100% right coming out of the gate. Interdependencies, data flows... if you do map everything correctly the first time, take that extended vacation---you've earned it.
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