Testing and Exercising your Business Continuity Plan

Training and testing are the keys to the success of any continuity or disaster recovery plan. A plan simply can't be relied on to work properly unless it has been tested before it is actually implemented during an emergency. Practicing emergency response helps ensure that the plan will work as expected in an actual emergency. In addition, exercising the plan can reveal problems or weaknesses in the plan and identify need changes. This week's articles offer ideas about testing and exercising your plan.

What is required to ensure that an exercise is effective? (Item #1)   The development and implementation of the functional exercise program will help ensure you're ready when the next disaster strikes. (Item #2)   Are you testing all of your plan at least some of the time? (Item #3)  

Just how ready is your disaster recovery plan? (Item #4)   In the event of a disaster, a backup provider should be able to restore all data within 48 hours. (Item #5)   Business continuity plans should be tested and updated regularly to ensure that they are up to date and effective. (Item #6)  

As always, we look forward to hearing your comments & insights regarding business continuity. If you have a topic you'd like us to cover, email me at [email protected].

Bob Mellinger, President
Attainium Corp

1. The art of effective exercising

As we are all aware, a business continuity plan is only effective if it accurately reflects the needs, technology and structure of the organization. But, more importantly, a business continuity plan can only be considered to be truly effective if the content and the components of the plan have been exercised.

2. A high return, low impact, exercise regimen

Preparedness has become engrained into daily operations and remains a top priority. The functional exercise program will continue to be a regular test to identify gaps and solutions as changes arise in the population, technology, mandates, and services. It has proven to be a low cost, efficient and effective method to be ready for any disaster, and it continues to yield a high return on investment.

3. The Human Side of Business Continuity Planning

Chances are, your organization is taking a proactive approach and continually looking at ways to minimize the impact that potential crises can have on your business processes and technology systems. Yet, even though your company's business continuity plan most likely serves to protect your company's physical assets, such as its data, network(s), core business applications and facilities, how well does it address the human side of disasters?

4. Disaster Recovery Plan Testing 101

You've written your disaster plan and distributed it to your staff. You've included all the points required for a decent plan: assigning a disaster recovery team and coordinator, creating detailed recovery procedures and instructions and call trees with employees and vendors. You've covered hot topics such as pandemic planning and long term back-up power. Now you sit back and wait for a disaster to show how ready your systems are for it, right?

5. Before disaster strikes, test your recovery plan

One thing that every expert recommends is regular testing of backup systems to make sure they work They also suggest that a backup provider be located in another geographical area - important in the event of a hurricane, earthquake, flood or blackout - and that the provider have its own backup facilities, known as a failover location.

6. How to test your disaster recovery plan (Hint - test to make it fail)

According to many standards institutions and organizations that focus on disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC), disaster recovery plan testing will often result in the continued success and operations of a business, even in times of a disaster.

Quote of the Week:

"Never stop testing..."
-- David Ogilvy

Contact Us:

Attainium Corp
15110 Gaffney Circle
Gainesville, VA 20155