Testing and Exercising

It's the beginning of a new year, and you should be thinking about whether your business continuity plan is still viable... has it been tested? Have you had major personnel changes? Are you sure you've covered all possible risks? If not, you definitely need to schedule a test of the plan to see if it still has everything you need and to ensure everybody knows who's doing what when. This week's articles should be of help.

Here's help for conducting successful desktop exercises. (Item #1)   What makes a good test scenario? (Item #2)   How would you handle the crises in this article? (Item #3)  

Testing and training help ensure the safety of your employees. (Item #4)   There are some new ways to test and validate your BC plans. (Item #5)   The more your business relies on IT, the more you need to ensure your plan will work. (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. Top tips for fantastic business continuity desktop exercises

Desktop exercises are instrumental in getting staff and others involved in business continuity, especially if they're - dare I say it - interesting and fun for those taking part. To help in making your exercises successful, here are 19 top tips, listed in no particular order.

2. Developing scenarios

Terror blasts, white powder attacks, pandemic flu, cyber crime, the list goes on. At the sharp end of business continuity it really is one thing after another. We seem to spend our lives frightening the life out of crisis management teams by dreaming up the best possible scenarios to test their response and the company's business continuity plan. So what makes for the top scenario - one that really tests the plan and the players?

3. Crises that could affect your business

Depending on your business' specific circumstances, there are many possible events that might constitute a crisis. Though some of these scenarios may seem unlikely, it's prudent to give them consideration. How would you handle these?

4. The Value of Business Continuity Training and Exercising

Simply stated, without the involvement of employees in the preparation of the plan, the recovery process will not be successful. Whether this is from a failed BCP design process, competing shared resources, lack of employee understanding and/or lack of employee buy in, the outcome is nearly always failure. With training and plan testing/exercising, the employees are less likely to be injured and tend to recover and respond to the disaster with a positive impact. Studies show medical issues and lack of productivity for unprepared, untrained employees have a profound and highly damaging impact on the success of the business in the recovery capabilities.

5. 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.

6. IT Risk Management: Implementing and testing your business continuity plan

The more your business relies on IT, the more important it is to identify and control the risks that could affect your IT systems. Threats ranging from equipment failure to malicious attacks by hackers have the potential to disrupt critical business systems or open up access to your confidential data.

Quote of the Week:

"A continuity plan without realistic testing is not only useless - it is also a complete waste of money."
-- Herve Riou

Contact Us:

Attainium Corp
15110 Gaffney Circle
Gainesville, VA 20155