I guarantee that if you test your Business Continuity plans you will identify a number of actions you need to take or improvements that can be made. So why do so many organisations fail to complete this part of the Business Continuity Lifecycle?

Imagine building a plane or a ship, loading it up with passengers and setting it off on its maiden voyage with your fingers crossed – ridiculous!

I often refer to Business Continuity as a process, it’s like any other process in your organisation. No line manager would let an employee execute processes in which they have not been trained. Why then do we think our Business Continuity Plans will work perfectly when our people use them for the first time and rely on solutions that have not been practiced?

Ok, testing and exercising plans, solutions and teams takes time and effort but it’s definitely worth it.

Several years ago I was managing a programme of work area recovery tests. Each test resulted in around 100 issues requiring follow up. The tests were carried out using the same recovery site, the same recovery team and most user functionality was restored successfully. Some of the issues related to changes that had occurred since the previous test, some of the issues were improvements that could be made and some were showstoppers that would have prevented a real recovery. I make a big point of there being no pass or fail for such tests – they are opportunities to learn, refine and improve and I would much rather find the issues during testing than when I have customers and senior executives on my case because the planning assumptions have not been realised.

There’s a whole range of elements that can be tested or exercised including:-

  1. Crisis Management Teams.
  2. Crisis communications.
  3. Departmental plans and teams.
  4. Recovery strategies and solutions.
  5. IT failovers or disaster recovery.
  6. Supplier arrangements.
  7. Backup power supplies.

To get maximum benefit any test needs to be planned and follow up work will be required to address the issues you will find.

I can’t recommend strongly enough that you take steps now to test your plans and capabilities. Don’t wait until the real event!

September 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm
Return to All News
Category: Training & Exercising
Tags: , ,