If you have a business continuity plan, how do you know whether the plan will actually work in practice? The time has come to put it to the test.
Rehearse, test, exercise
Whichever term you use, the purpose is to ensure the business continuity plan is fit for purpose to enable your business to respond and recover effectively from an incident, crisis or other operational disruption.
(Not to be confused with Disaster Recovery Tests which are IT focused - for more information on DR Tests click here)
BC exercises can be specifically focused for the Incident or senior Management Team, the Business Recovery Teams, the ICT Disaster Recovery Team or other response teams that you have defined.
Fundamental to the success of an exercise is to ensure that everyone who attends understands why they are there, their roles and responsibilities in an incident and how the business continuity plan should be used to enable an effective response to an incident. A realistic scenario should be developed that will bring to light any weak points in the plans and assumptions.
Most importantly, keep your audience engaged. Try some innovative scenarios that will have your teams thinking ahead and make it fun! The teams should come away with a real understanding of the advantages to the organisation of implementing an effective BCM response.
Some top tips for a successful exercise:
- Review the current organisational structure in a crisis situation, likely threats and the plans and procedures in place to respond to and recover from an incident
- Agree scope and objectives for the exercise
- Develop appropriate scenarios that satisfy the exercise objectives
- Establish an appropriate test environment
- Ensure you have the right people at the exercise including decision makers
- Encourage participants to take part in a hot debrief and post exercise review discussion
- Produce an exercise outcome report clearly stating the results of the exercise and recommended actions
- Ensure post exercise actions are undertaken, revise strategies and update plans as appropriate
Teed has designed, facilitated and documented hundreds of successful exercises covering a wide range of scenarios for teams at all levels of an organisation and at every stage of a BC programme.
How did you do?
Teed has developed an effective and popular business continuity scoring methodology that allows organisations to benchmark their current exposure and motivate them to improve their preparedness on an ongoing basis.
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