Testing and Training

When's the last time you tested your business continuity plan? If you answered "never," you're not alone. And, if you tested your plan and you had problems, you're among the majority. In spite of this, many companies do not test or exercise their plans regularly. People move on, processes change, vendors come and go... all of these changes should prompt updating and testing. Perhaps an exercise would be a good way to start off 2016. Our articles below could be of help.

There are many different types of plan 'test' or 'exercise', so it is important to choose the type of approach that works best for your organization. (Item #1)     Successful tests do not prove that a disaster recovery plan will succeed, but failed tests do prove that plan will fail, and that is what makes testing so important. (Item #2)     Here are suggestions for three things you can consistently do to ensure your Business Continuity Plan is tested and your organization is better prepared should disaster strike. (Item #3)    

If your BC plan has been sitting on the shelf since it was completed, you're likely to have trouble implementing it when it's needed. (Item #4)     The truth is that you can't really know if your plan works without running through a disaster simulation. (Item #5)     You should test your business continuity plan checklist at least twice a year and quarterly if possible. It might seem like a distraction and a disruption, but just remember that the future of your business is literally at stake. (Item #6)    

Attainium also delivers tabletop exercises in a variety of ways --- from Conduct It Yourself Tabletop Exercises through full custom designed and delivered exercises. Find the best one for you at https://www.attainium.net/index.php/conduct-it-yourself-tabletop-exercises

As always, I look forward to hearing about your concerns with regard to business continuity. If there are any topics that you'd like to see covered, email me at [email protected].

Bob Mellinger, President
Attainium Corp

1. Training and exercise

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is not considered valid until it has been tested. The whole point of a test/ exercise is to see if the plan actually works. For example does it give the intended outcome? Are there any gaps in arrangements? Are staff prepared?

2. Disaster recovery plan testing primer: Test to fail

According to many standards institutions and organizations that focus on disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC), disaster recovery plan testing will often result in the continued success and operations of a business, even in times of a disaster.

3. Three Ways to Test Your Business Continuity Plan

The companies that subscribe to Murphy's Law are generally best equipped to mitigate risk and handle the unknowns -- whether that's economic downturns, natural disasters, data breaches or server failures. Regardless of risk appetite, smart companies plan against interruptions to business with what's known as a Business Continuity Plan or BCP. Even the best plans fall apart without proper implementation. Success in plan execution increases exponentially with testing.

4. Exercise is good for you and for your Business Continuity Plan

I won't cite statistics about how many people actually exercise or how often they do. Despite the known benefit, most people just don't bother or they overestimate the amount of exercise they get. The same seems to hold true for business continuity plans (BCP). "Why bother to conduct an exercise?" Some people say, "All the information we need is in the plan. All we need to do is follow it, right?". Well... no. This type of attitude is based on three assumptions that, to quote the old song, "ain't necessarily so."

5. Is It Time to Test Your BC/DR Plan?

According to eWeek, 70% of businesses only update their disaster recovery (DR) plan every one to five years, and only a third of businesses test their DR plan once every 12 months. 17% admit never even testing their plans. With more than 80% of those who did test reporting problems occurring during their last DR testing, there's a good chance major issues could arise when reality strikes. In fact, 11% of testers reported experiencing major problems or a complete plan failure.

6. How to Test Your Business Continuity Plan Checklist

Creating a business continuity plan checklist is both an essential safeguard and a major strategic and logistical challenge. Ensuring that you can continue to serve your clients and meet your obligations following any type of disaster requires you to carefully scrutinize your operations and consider every possible contingency. Too often, plans that appear effective on paper only produce chaos when put into practice. That's why it's so important to test your business continuity plan checklist.

Quote of the Week:

"If anything is certain, it is that change is certain. The world we are planning for today will not exist in this form tomorrow."

-- Philip Crosby

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Attainium Corp
15110 Gaffney Circle
Gainesville, VA 20155