Testing and Training

The reason we talk so often about testing your business continuity plans if because it's so important. No matter how hard we work to write the plan, things change over time. People leave, job responsibilities evolve, and these can affect the plan. Take the advice in this week's articles and begin to plan your testing now.

It's not just what individuals know that matters in a crisis; you have to test the BC team's crisis decision-making. (Item #1)   It's important to know the steps needed in testing your plan. (Item #2)   This listing of objectives can be very helpful in planning your exercises. (Item #3)  

Testing a business recovery plan is an important step to validate and check its content and approaches to ensure that plans are actionable before a possible real disruption. (Item #4)   Involve your employees in testing and exercising your plans and get their input on it. (Item #5)   For the general employee population, awareness of the business continuity plan is essential for on-going support and commitment. (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. In-crisis decision making: practice makes perfect

Like so many things in life, in order to become proficient in any physical or mental process, it is necessary to practice. Some say there is no better learning curve in crisis management than managing through an actual crisis. However, what you actually apply during a crisis is your capabilities that exist at that time, including: inefficiencies in how your organization responds to a crisis; how it is managed; and how decisions are made. The risk of failure increases when you only consider what you know as an individual. As such, what you really must 'exercise' is the TEAM'S ability to make decisions.

2. What Are the Steps Required in Testing a Business Continuity Plan?

Business insurance provides protection for employee salaries, property damage and business equipment. Business owners also protect their ventures by developing business continuity plans, which outline a plan for operating the business, if a crisis occurs causing the business to adjust the where and the way it normally operates. Business continuity plans must be tested to ensure that they follow a logical, accurate approach to running the business.

3. Business Continuity Program Objectives

These objectives from the University of Colorado can be helpful to you in focusing on why you test, use mock exercises and drills, and test evaluation criteria.

4. Testing the Business Continuity Plan: checking with reality

The phrase "checking with reality" is more than a figure of speech when it comes to business continuity planning. A reality check in the form of a contingency/recoverability test is necessary to validate the hard work of the Continuity Manager in mapping business and critical processes, identifying Single Point of Failure (SPOF), performing gap analysis between the primary environment and recovery needs environment, evaluating Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO), and evaluating off-site and technology infrastructure.

5. How to Train Within a Business Continuity Plan

To continue operating your business or to restore operations quickly, ensure your staff can execute the plan. Schedule training exercises within your business continuity plan to maximize awareness. Three types of training (plan review, role-playing activities and simulated dry runs) validate your business continuity plan. Plan to run training events at least once a year or more if your business conditions change more frequently.

6. Training Your Employees after DR/BC Plan Development

Corporate-wide awareness training has been widely recognized as an important ingredient of an on-going, pro-active approach to disaster preparedness and recovery, crisis management, and business continuity planning and implementation. It has been suggested that senior management, functional management, and employees involved in disaster recovery and business continuity should be given awareness training at several phases of the business continuity planning and implementation project.

Quote of the Week:

"Practice is the best of all instructors."
-- Publius Syrus

Contact Us:

Attainium Corp
15110 Gaffney Circle
Gainesville, VA 20155