The hallmark of a good business continuity plan is testing. Frequent and comprehensive testing. A solid strategy will pass each test, and a good company will adjust the tests every time to maximize their impact and how they assess the plan for minimized risk. However, this means that firms need to focus on their testing strategy as well, not just continuity of operations planning, to perfect their disaster preparedness and recovery efforts.
According to Continuity Central, there are 10 steps to executing a great continuity exercise:
- Putting the people first
- Understanding the business's needs
- Balancing training with practice
- Setting clear exercise objectives
- Picking the exercise appropriately
- Developing an exercise plan
- Making sure the administration of the exercise is outlined
- Running the actual exercise
- Setting up the next one
- Learning from the data
By following this outline a business will be able to ensure its testing exercises provide valuable insight for improving their preparedness and minimizing risk over time. However, part of this strategy also includes developing exercises that will truly test their continuity abilities. Part of this lies in setting clear exercise objectives.
Outlining a hypothetical disaster is one of the best ways to create a plan that really highlights how prepared a company is. Setting up the scenario and building a real-world example allows a business to set clear objectives and run its paces as if the crisis were truly occurring. Make sure to develop such a testing exercise every time one is run to continue driving actionable data.
If you need assistance building a continuity of operations plan or testing it, consider hiring consultants who can provide expertise and suggestions for making your testing exercises as authentic as possible.