Testing and Training

In spite of the fact that a plan untested is a plan that might not work, there are many organizations that fail to update and test their plans regularly - or at all. As one of this week's articles says, testing is a reality check for your plan; if you're betting your business and employees lives on it, it had better work. The articles presented this week may give you some new insights into the importance of testing and training.

Testing is the best way to find out what works and what doesn't. (Item #1)   Just because you've checked the box that says "BC plan," don't assume you're prepared. (Item #2)   Here are all the reasons you've probably used for not testing... and also some ideas on how you can get your organization to dedicate resources to testing. (Item #3)  

Scheduled (and sometimes unscheduled) rehearsals, workshops and training events should be woven into the fabric of normal business culture. (Item #4)   If you don't do the reality check, you might as well not even have done the plan. (Item #5)   No matter how small, your business should have a business continuity plan. (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. Testing the business continuity plan

The business continuity plan may be backed by good technology and written documentation, but unless it's brought out and tested every now and then, there is still a risk that everything may not work as it should when a real emergency does occur. Practicing emergency response helps assure that the response can proceed predictably in an actual emergency. By exercising the plan, problems or weaknesses in the plan and procedures can be identified, stimulating appropriate changes to the plan.

2. Testing Plans: The Challenges

Testing BC/DR, crisis management or any response plan, and personnel is often low down on the list of "things to do." However, with recent crises such as the Mexican Gulf oil disaster, will we see a shift in the way that corporations test their plans? Here are the details of a discussion with Jonathan Bernstein of Bernstein Crisis Management.

3. Improving business continuity testing and exercising

Continuity Central asked various business continuity experts why it seems that many organizations neglect the area of testing and exercising and what individual organizations can do to improve. Each expert was asked the same three questions were asked and the various comments received in response are summarized here.

4. Cultural conditioning - the training dilemma

Those who strive to, and achieve, greatness in business continuity often do so, not because they have better plans or better technology, but because the corporate mindset - the summation of all thinking people within the corporate realm - has been collectively tuned to a common or unifying purpose which 'touches' everyone, and with which all can identify. This is achieved not through business impact or risk assessment work - important though these stages are - but through a genuine program of transformation which alters human behavior, values and culture.

5. 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.

6. How to Conduct Testing of a Business Continuity Plan

It is important for your small business to have a business continuity plan because in the event of a disaster that causes a business shutdown--a fire or flood for example--you'll be able to minimize losses, down times and the impact on your customers. Once you have developed your business continuity plan, or BCP, it is just as important to test your plan. Testing verifies the effectiveness of your plan, trains plan participants on what to do in a real scenario and identifies areas where the plan needs to be strengthened.

Quote of the Week:

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

Contact Us:

Attainium Corp
15110 Gaffney Circle
Gainesville, VA 20155