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How to test a business continuity plan

How to test a business continuity plan.
How to test a business continuity plan.

A strong business continuity plan is a necessity but simply planning isn't enough. The plan has to be tested before it can be finalized. Without testing, your company runs the risk of doing something that may actually hurt your business rather than help it when you need it most.

Here's how to put your plan to the test:

  • Schedule. Once you have a draft of your plan, determine the testing schedule. Discuss whether you want to test it all at once or test specific parts separately, but make sure it all gets done. Then, schedule a periodic review of the plan with additional testing to ensure that it will still be valid later on.
  • Outline objective. Before you commence, the goal of the test needs to be clear. This should be discussed in detail with employees to make sure everyone is on the same page prior to testing. This is also a good time to discuss the role of the plan as a whole and how it benefits the business.
  • Develop and execute the test. Create a scenario for a fake disaster, like a fire, earthquake or hurricane. As reactions can sometimes differ per event, make sure your employees fully understand their duties to help improve response times. 
  • Evaluate. After the test, meet with your employees to discuss the outcome. Figure out what worked in the plan, what needs to be altered and what needs to be changed completely. 
  • Begin again. Once the plan has been reassessed based on the test, make sure you test the changes that were made to ensure that they achieved the desired effect. 

Don't let your first test be in a crisis situation. Seeking the help of business continuity planning, consultants can assist your company during the tests and help you create the best possible plan for your business needs.