TRI’s BC or Resilience Plan Exercises
Business Continuity or Resilience Plan Exercises
Why exercise in the first place?
The primary objective is to ensure that the plan works when it’s needed. But it’s not enough to exercise parts of a plan. Ideally all elements of business continuity plans should be exercised on regularly scheduled basis (at least annually). Each exercise may have different objectives, beside the primary one.
Main exercise objectives include identifying weaknesses and shortcomings, verifying recovery objectives and procedures, validating global efficiency of plans, verifying the adequacy of emergency operations centers (EOCs) and alternate sites, and achieving specific recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPO).
Exercising Business Continuity or Resilience Plans is necessary and should be completed at least once a year and whenever a BC or Resilience plan has had significant changes made to it. This is essential for ensuring that your plan is current, fully functional and addresses your current operational processes and procedures.
An exercise and testing program is necessary to ensure that all staff have a good understanding of their responsibilities as defined in the Business Continuity or Resilience Plan.
Exercise and Test plans consist of:
- Training for Managers, Supervisors Team members and the general public
- Roles and Responsibilities of all personnel during an interruption event
- Corporate and local Communications Plan Exercising, and
- Testing all procedure and processes included in existing plans.
- Testing new processes and procedures
Exercises also allow training of recovery teams and evaluates their capability to effectively implement the plan. Exercises will be conducted and documented in accordance with the Business Continuity Exercise and Reporting Templates.
Exercises can be simple or complex. A table-top exercise can establish a plan performance baseline. A specialized exercise, such as one which focuses on crisis management procedures at an EOC, provides valuable information about specific activities. At a higher level, an integrated exercise can address multiple business continuity plans or plan components. Finally, an entire plan, with all components, can be exercised. It is far better to err on the side of exercising too much, rather than not enough.