Business continuity management in organizations – a series ( 5): Testing and maintenance


One of the best ways to assess the efficacy of any plan is to test it. BCP Testing/Exercising helps organizations ensure that their continuity and recovery plans are effective and that they are prepared to respond to disruptive events. Testing is the means through which an organization’s Business Continuity Plans can be validated to ensure they are capable of providing recovery within the prescribed timeframes.

Organizations should conduct regular exercises to simulate disruptive events and assess their readiness to respond. These exercises may vary in size and complexity and may take various forms including desktop/table top tests, orientations, drills, amongst others.

Regardless of the testing methodology used by an organization, tests conducted should be a realistic simulation of a potential disruptive event in order to promote readiness, improve response capabilities and determine overall effectiveness. Tests should also have IT systems and data recovery capabilities in scope. This includes testing backup systems, Disaster Recovery (DR) plans and failover systems to ensure that they are functioning as intended and that data can be recovered in the event of a disruption.

It is important to note that all parties involved in the Business Continuity management process must be properly trained. Regular training and awareness sessions are needed to ensure all staff of an organization are familiar with their roles and responsibilities in the event of a crisis. A communication strategy is also necessary to ascertain the mode, frequency and responsibilities of communication during disruptions.

Exercises should be conducted on a regular basis, for example, annually or quarterly and should be designed to test different types of scenarios, such as network outages, system downtimes, natural disasters, cyberattacks, or pandemics. The results of the exercise should be evaluated, and any gaps or areas of improvement should be identified and addressed.

It is essential to regularly review, update and test Business Continuity Plans to ensure they reflect the current state of the organization and are able to effectively respond to the latest threats and vulnerabilities.

>>>The writer is a certified ISO 22301 Lead Implementer with 13+ years Banking experience in Enterprise Risk Management, Modeling & Portfolio analytics. She can be reached via email at [email protected]

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