Testing & Training

We've probably all heard the phrase "fail early, fail cheap," but have we heeded its warning? When testing your business continuity plan, one of the most effective outcomes is learning where it failed -- before you need to use it. Early failure can be addressed and costs less -- in terms of money, manpower and business impact -- than failure when the plan is critically needed. If you think of testing and training as the keys to the continuity of operations, you'll get busy now. This week's articles can provide some help.

Cyber scenarios have become much more common in business continuity exercises, due to the increasing concern about the impacts of information security threats. (Item #1)     These seven steps can help small businesses develop effective testing programs. (Item #2)     Disaster recovery testing is highly valued among standards and DR/BC organizations, but these tests are only effective if you perform them correctly. (Item #3)    

This article looks at how Continuity 2.0 might be applied in practice. (Item #4)     Here are seven tips to think about to ensure that your next work area recovery test is successful. (Item #5)     Ideally all elements of business continuity plans should be exercised on regularly scheduled basis (at least annually). (Item #6)    

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 bmellinger@attainium.net.

Bob Mellinger, President
Attainium Corp

1. Seven tips for successful cyber exercises

Organizations are increasingly focused on understanding the impacts a cyber attack could have on their operations and reputation. Many are now using cyber scenarios in their crisis exercises to test and validate their assumptions on how they would respond and reflect on the unique challenges a cyber attack could bring. The exercises range from fully immersive simulations to desktop sessions.

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. Disaster recovery plan testing primer: Test to fail

So if everyone agrees that testing of business continuity/disaster recovery plans is a genuine, certified good thing, then there's nothing to argue about here, right? I, however, have reason to disagree with the claimed success of disaster recovery testing. I've seen too many examples of DR plans that have been tested routinely over extended periods of time, but still fail when needed.

4. Executing Continuity 2.0 (In three easy steps!)

The following example is by no means definitive. Remember that the Continuity 2.0 principles are not about order of execution. The three steps suggested here provide just one example of how the principles could be applied in a fairly concise execution. So, without further ado: a practical approach to Continuity 2.0 in three easy steps.

5. Seven practical tips for successful work area recovery testing

When you physically move a group of people to a work area recovery (WAR) site and expect them to be productive almost immediately, in a sense the easy part is ensuring they have the basic tools: desks, computers with the right programs, washrooms and so on. But there are a host of practicalities that need to be thought through that will make all the difference, and that should be integrated into the practice routines. This will make the testing of your plan much more successful, and will pay off should a disaster occur.

6. Exercises & Testing

Exercising Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery Plans is necessary and should be completed on a regularly scheduled basis and whenever a BC or DR plan has had significant changes made to it. This is essential for ensuring that your plan is current, fully functional and addresses your current operational processes and procedures.

Quote of the Week:

"A 'passing' test doesn't mean 'no problem.' It means no problem *observed*. This time. With these inputs. So far. On my machine."

-- Michael Bolton

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