Testing Your Business Continuity Plan

Although your business continuity plan is supported by state-of-the-art technology and superbly written documentation, it could still fail if you don't test it now and then. Regardless of how wonderful a plan may look on paper, you will run the risk that things just won't work in an emergency if you haven't tested the plan. This week's articles provide some help for testing and exercising your plans.

The primary reason to exercise is to identify limitations of business continuity plans. (Item #1)   What are the keys to a successful business continuity exercise? (Item #2)   Planning is good, but practice makes perfect. (Item #3)  

How can you make business continuity training a top priority? (Item #4)   Establishing a testing and exercise program within the organization reduces the risk of failed recovery and has many benefits. (Item #5)   Testing your BCP using a simulated disaster helps ensure success in the event of an actual disaster. (Item #6)   And finally, check out what a few of Attainium's customer have experienced with their plan testing and exercising. (Item #7)  

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. Exercising: the secret to successful business continuity plans

After you have completed all the necessary activities associated with a developing business continuity plan, you may think you're finished. In reality business continuity plans are useless until you exercise them. Fortunately, many types of exercises are possible, ranging from simple to very complex. The key is to incorporate exercising as part of the overall business continuity management process.

2. Mastering exercise development

The delivery of, and the feedback from, any test, exercise or rehearsal is, perhaps, the most interesting and fruitful part of any business continuity program. However, its success depends almost entirely on the way in which it is approached and developed. Good solid preparation ensures a sound delivery and so everybody benefits from the exercise. Poor preparation leads to a poor exercise and the whole program suffers. One unsatisfactory experience in an ill conceived exercise will cause most participants to want to distance themselves from the whole concept of business continuity.

3. Practice Makes Perfect

You have invested in IT disaster recovery and resilience, developed your business continuity and crisis management plans. But how confident are you they will work when needed? Just as importantly, do you staff really know and understand what they are expected to do?

4. How do I Promote Training for Business Continuity Plan?

One of the biggest struggles that any company faces with its business continuity plan is getting the company employees up to speed on the plan. Training for the business continuity plan is often seen as a low priority task. Get your employees excited about the business continuity plan to make it as effective as possible.

5. Testing Business Continuity, Emergency, IT Disaster Recovery, and Pandemic Plans

Whether it's a business continuity, emergency, IT disaster recovery, or a pandemic plan, testing and exercising these plans is critical to ensure an effective, timely, and coordinated response. Without validating business continuity plans, management, business unit and IT recovery teams are essentially running blind and potentially place recovery of mission critical business functions at risk. To ensure plans are fully developed and viable, organizations need to implement a complete testing and exercise program.

6. What Is the Difference Between Testing & Exercising Business Continuity Plans?

Could your organization recover from a major disaster, such as an office building ravaged by floodwater? If not, your organization should establish a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) that encompasses all aspects of critical business activity to minimize disruption in the event of a disaster. Before a disaster occurs, your organization must test its BCP plan. After a disaster occurs, exercising a BCP helps to re-establish critical business functions.

6. A FewTabletop Exercise Profiles

Attainium delivers dozens of tabletop exercises each year. These range from Conduct It Yourself scenarios to custom designed exercises delivered on location. Here are a few of our customers' experiences.

Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold LLP - https://www.attainium.net/articles.php?articleId=246
Rohm & Haas - https://www.attainium.net/articles.php?articleId=182
Hunton & Williams LLP - https://www.attainium.net/articles.php?articleId=224
Blake Real Estate - https://www.attainium.net/articles.php?articleId=245

Quote of the Week:

"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results."
-- Winston Churchill

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Attainium Corp
15110 Gaffney Circle
Gainesville, VA 20155