Things to remember when testing your business continuity plan

Things to remember when testing your business continuity plan

Disasters can happen to your business anytime. Power outages, system failures, and even natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes can cripple your business unless you have a reliable business continuity plan (BCP). An effective BCP enables your business operations to continue functioning properly even during the worst technical issues. Given this, it’s essential for all organizations to have one.

An effective BCP should consider business resources, location, suppliers, customers, and employees. However, it’s not enough to formulate a plan and just forget about it. Organizations should check if the scheme will work as intended or if adjustments have to be made.

To do this effectively, you must involve your employees. Convey the objectives of the BCP to them and describe how you will measure its success and failure. This way, they will have a good grasp of their responsibilities and your expectations.

Here are four basic types of tests that your business can conduct:

#1. Walkthrough self-assessment

Let’s assume you’ve taken into consideration every aspect of your workplace. Everything looks good on paper. However, the question remains: Will it work? Review the plan regularly, or at least quarterly, to ensure that it’s still feasible anytime you need it. Gather department heads, managers, and anyone else concerned to discuss your plan’s strengths, points for improvement, and plan viability.

#2. Supervised walkthrough

You can also describe mock scenarios when reviewing your plan to allow staff to determine the appropriate actions, responsibilities, responses, and decisions that they have to take in the face of a real disaster. This way, at any point during a disaster, they would know how to respond properly and still ensure that your business can operate as efficiently as possible.

A supervised walkthrough can identify incomplete or inaccurate points of your plan, pinpoint bottlenecks, and expose weaknesses that should be solved promptly. This will also allow you to adjust any timeframes, and assess interdependencies and resources.

#3. Do a live process/plan simulation

This allows employees to actually perform their assigned roles and responsibilities in your BCP. It deploys recovery resources and locations, and determines whether resource allocations are sufficient and realistic.

What’s more, simulated communication will determine if strategies laid out in the plan are timely, accurate, and useful in conveying necessary information that can be used to make decisions and assess outcomes.

Remember that this test can be resource-intensive, time-consuming, and disruptive to some business activities. It’s best to have a facilitator lead the exercise and devise a realistic scenario. They can relay relevant information at key moments to see the effectiveness of some aspects of the BCP.

#4. Conduct a full end-to-end simulation

A full end-to-end simulation is only intended for mature plans, and requires participants to carry out the entire response and recovery efforts. All departments of the company should be involved here, so senior management approval is usually required.

Such an approach can help you evaluate recovery timeframes and determine the responses of groups and interdependent work within various departments and employees.

While this is the best way to test your BCP, it will be difficult and expensive to conduct because it often requires certain business functions to be shut down during the simulation.

Having a business continuity plan is helpful for your operations should disasters strike, but it will remain useless unless you update and test it out regularly. Remember that failing to plan is planning to fail, and doing so can have serious implications for your business.

Are you prepared for unexpected network failures? If not, then you’ve come to the right place. At Binatech, we believe that all organizations should have the correct recovery technologies and a contingency plan to ensure their business can continue functioning despite technical issues. Sign up for extensive BCP assistance by calling us today.