Testing Business Continuity Plans

This test can identify incomplete or inaccurate areas of the plan, pinpoint bottlenecks, and point out weaknesses that need to be remedied.It also begins to assess interdependencies, resources, and timeframes that can be adjusted.

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The following principles should be addressed in the business continuity testing program of all institutions, regardless of whether they rely on service providers or process their work internally: A key challenge for management is to develop a testing program that provides a high degree of assurance for the continuity of critical business processes, including supporting infrastructure, systems, and applications, without compromising production environments.

Therefore, a robust testing program should incorporate roles and responsibilities; a testing policy that includes testing strategies and test planning; the execution, evaluation, independent assessment, and reporting of test results; and updates to the BCP and testing program.

Will the organization stay afloat in the midst of such a crisis?

Any amount of disruption costs your business money and can destroy customer relations.

Simulations are best led by a facilitator who can devise a believable, realistic scenario and who can relay relevant information at key times during the exercise to gauge how new variables affect the plan’s effectiveness. These efforts need to involve all business areas of the enterprise.

As the most robust and comprehensive test, this approach allows for all of the assessments in the above testing spaces, while also evaluating recovery timeframes.The testing program has become a key focus of banking supervisors, in light of recent, catastrophic events, and has received heightened attention within the financial services industry because such a program can be used to validate the viability of the BCP.As such, there are various principles that should be followed by financial institutions when developing a testing program.This facilitated discussion uses a scenario to test the plan’s efficacy.A mock scenario is described, allowing staff to determine appropriate actions, responsibilities, responses, and decisions that would need to be made if real.This simulated ‘real life’ situation allows key employees to act out actual roles and responsibilities.It deploys recovery resources and locations and tests whether resource allocations are realistic and appropriate.Risk monitoring and testing is the final step in the cyclical business continuity planning process.Risk monitoring and testing ensures that the institution's business continuity planning process remains viable through the: Risk monitoring and testing is necessary to ensure that the business continuity planning process remains viable through the incorporation of the BIA and risk assessment into an enterprise-wide BCP and testing program.It also allows testers to determine the responses of groups and interdependent work among business areas and employees.These tests are difficult and expensive to conduct as they often require certain business functions to be shut down during the testing window.

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