You have a business continuity plan, so now you need to rehearse it. Here we cover how to do that.
The words ‘rehearsal’, ‘test’ and ‘exercise’ are interchangeably used for checking a business continuity plan in a practical way. It doesn’t really matter what you call them, but you’ll probably find more people are willing to join in if you don’t call it a ‘test’!
There are 3 common reasons to hold an exercise to rehearse a business continuity plan, and they’re all perfectly valid:
- Because you need a tick-in-the-box that you’ve done this for an audit trail
- To make sure people know what the plan says
- To see where the plan can be improved
- a talkthrough – where a small group of people sit with the plan and go through it from start to finish to make sure it works
- a walkthrough - where a small group of people sit take the plan an walk through it, going to the places it says and doing what it says to do
- a relocation- where resources (e.g. people, technology) go to the recovery location as per the plan instructions and work from there,
- a technical test – a technology-based plan is enacted under controlled conditions to check that it works
- a multiple plans rehearsal - where two or more plans are rehearsed at the same time to check they work together (may be internal teams, supply chains, etc.)
- a scenario-based exercise - where a story is told to a group of people who have to test the plan works under those circumstances
- Decide what your aims are first, and then design your rehearsal
- Make sure someone’s keeping notes during the rehearsal so you remember what needs to be done when it’s over
- Make sure your rehearsal cannot and will not affect real-life business
If you need help with rehearsals, then you’re in the right place. Have a look at our business continuity rehearsal resources. There’s a free guide on how to design and run one, and an example rehearsal that you could use in your organisation.
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