Testing and Exercising

We keep saying it - you can't count on your plan until you test it - and we will keep saying it because it couldn't be truer. It only takes one wrong number, one missing link, and your plan may not work. So, take heed from this week's articles and make sure you plan to test as soon as possible.

The trends in testing and exercising may give you some new ideas on testing your plan. (Item #1)   The only way to ensure that your continuity plan will work is to test it with regular exercises and then to update the plans in the light of experience. (Item #2)   Do you test your data backups? You should. (Item #3)  

Setting up the exercise the right way can ensure that everyone benefits from it. (Item #4)   Testing your plan is critical to its success. (Item #5)   Don't forget how important it is to train senior staff and others so they will know their jobs. (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. Trends in business continuity plan testing and exercising

The most notable change in the crisis management environment is the revolution in instant multi-media communications channels and the resultant need for firms to be able to demonstrate that they are both on top of the problem and can communicate effectively in a way that takes account of the public and stakeholder 'mood'. As a result, savvy organizations are looking at new ways and methods to scrutinize, test and validate their business continuity plans.

2. Practice Your Plans

Exercises provide the only way of realistically testing contingency plans. They can establish and reinforce relationships between those taking part and allow a review of their responses under controlled conditions. Testing your emergency strategy will also bring people from different areas together to work as a team, to realise clear goals and to get to know and respect each other's strengths and weaknesses.

3. Of Backups and Bare Metal Restore

Your data's safe, isn't it? If a disaster happened, you could simply buy new computers, restore from backups, and continue working. Or could you? Welcome to Mike's First Rule of Real World Backups: backups don't exist unless you test them.

4. 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.

5. Three Top Tips for Successful Business Continuity Planning

Pay particular attention to tip #3: Document and Test Your Recovery Plan. If you've created a business continuity plan, make sure you will be able to reliably take advantage of that plan to get the expected recovery results. Document your recovery processes in a "run book," and make sure you keep copies of it in two different places.

6. Training Your Employee 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:

Between the idea
and the reality
Between the motion
and the act
Falls the shadow.

-- T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men --

Contact Us:

Attainium Corp
15110 Gaffney Circle
Gainesville, VA 20155