Awareness, Testing and Training
June 27, 2018 - If nobody reads your business continuity plan (or even knows it's there), can it possibly work? Probably not, and that should worry you. Just because the plan is done, doesn't mean your work is done. It's critical that everyone in the organization understands who's in charge, what each person's role is and how everything is supposed to work. Otherwise, why have the plan at all? These articles look at how awareness, testing and training are done and why they are important.
1. Test the Plan, Plan the Test - Why Successful Business Continuity Plans Are Put into Action before a Crisis
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.
Everybody knows the age-old saying "practice makes perfect". The idea being that you can become progressively better at something the more times you do it. If we anticipate an issue or problem before it occurs and we practice how to fix it in advance of it happening then we can reduce the overall impact or even prevent it happening in the first place: but in my experience I'd have to say it's not as simple as that. A key part of business continuity is undertaking / facilitating exercises.
Most organizations run a periodic business continuity awareness session and most attendees forget the content within hours of leaving the session. In fact, many may have even 'turned off' during the session. Steve Dance looks at why this is and what organizations can do to improve in this area.
An untested business continuity plan is essentially useless, since the first time the deficiencies of the plan are likely to be revealed is in the midst of an actual emergency. At that point it may be extremely difficult or even impossible to correct issues that were overlooked or inadequately addressed.
A common cause of failure to implement BCM successfully is a lack of people with the right level of knowledge and skills, and the purpose of planning and delivering a business continuity training and awareness campaign is to avoid that pitfall. The aim therefore, is ensure that everyone has the business continuity knowledge and skills required to undertake their role in the process.
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.
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