Testing your business continuity strategy is just as important as creating it.

Don’t just create a plan, test it

Developing a successful business continuity plan, complete with a hot site, data recovery and evacuation route requires not just planning, but thorough testing of that strategy. Proper testing encompasses technology, exit routes and hot site management to ensure everything would go smoothly should a natural disaster or other crisis occur.

A recent article at Dell's Tech Page One blog outlined the importance of testing data recovery systems in particular. Citing a Kroll Ontrack survey, 66 percent of companies noted that data loss occurred because of hardware failure – not a disaster itself. If the hardware isn't regularly tested, or in a broader sense the plan isn't run through its paces, a company puts itself at risk regardless of having a business resumption strategy in place.

"In reality, there are too many variables that can adversely impact the data backup and subsequent restore processes," Jennifer Walzer, CEO of BUMI, told the news source. "This is why it is extremely important to validate that the data that you think is being backed up is actually stored correctly."

This logic extends throughout business recovery planning. After establishing a hot site, visit it on a regular schedule to ensure it can be brought up and running quickly. For an evacuation plan, run drills and have employees follow the route. Test and drill every system, strategy and effort to align goals, help workers understand the process and ensure that it can executed flawlessly when the time comes when it is actually needed.

Developing a strong plan and testing it can be best achieved with an advisor to help customize your strategy to your unique business needs. Just remember to schedule testing, do it at random intervals, but do it regularly to ensure success.