Mature Business Continuity Plans through Exercising

  • March 11, 2014
  • Andrea Tolentino

Manageable and Effective Ways to Mature Business Continuity Plans through Exercising

The annual business continuity exercise has passed. It is now time to begin reviewing and analyzing the gaps stemming from the BC exercise.

Personally, the more I continue to administer business continuity exercises, the more I see that employees are not prepared to handle the results. We tell our clients here at Quantivate, gaps are good! You want to have gaps! This will show your auditor you worked and exercised your plan well. Where in reality, employees are quivering in their chairs, worrying about how and when these “gaps” are actually going to be closed. Most likely praying their name does not become assigned next to a follow up task.

In a world where business continuity is not the primary role for most employees, and everyone at the company is “wearing more than one hat”, it is crucial to make the maturation process and closing gaps of business continuity plans both manageable and efficient. Here are some ideas for making some progress in maturing your business continuity program:

1. Accountability

  • Set up notifications to remind the team to review gaps 3 months after the exercise has been completed. This will ensure there is a time frame for closing any open time.
  • Assign and delegate employees to be responsible for specific items and gaps at the meeting.

2. Resources

  • Develop a BC Administrator and assistant roles to facilitate ongoing BC changes to the organization throughout the year.
  • Use a BC software program to streamline and save time on managing BC plans.   

3. Time Management

  • Develop a structure within your organization to review open gaps.
  • Define times to review gaps with the plan owners at the exercise so everyone will expect a follow up meeting.

4. Knowledge

  • Understand the differences between pandemic, crisis management, business continuity, and disaster recovery plans. Once you have developed each of these plans, you can then begin analyzing the way in which they function together.
  • Develop a maturation exercise policy and method, stick with it. This will allow you to create and reach attainable goals.

5. Preparedness

  • Come to the annual exercise with a well prepared scenario, specific tasks to address, and updated and current BC plans. This will hopefully lead to a more in-depth and successful discussion on BC planning.

By using some of the above ideas, hopefully this will help your organization to have better exercises and overall mature your business continuity program!