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Exercising BC Plans

BC Plans must be rehearsed, or exercised, to ensure they will work in a disaster.

ISO 22301, Section 3.18, states that an exercise is a

  • process to train for, assess, practice, and improve performance in an organization

NOTE 1 Exercises can be used for: validating policies, plans, procedures, training, equipment, and inter-organizational agreements; clarifying and training personnel in roles and responsibilities; improving inter-organizational coordination and communications; identifying gaps in resources; improving individual performance; and identifying opportunities for improvement, and controlled opportunity to practice improvisation.

NOTE 2 A test is a unique and particular type of exercise, which incorporates an expectation of a pass or fail element within the goal or objectives of the exercise being planned.

As defined above, exercising is broader than testing as it:

  • Assesses the quality of the planning
  • Increases the awareness of individuals (including Third Party Providers)
  • Assesses the effectiveness of the BCM capability
  • Improves the BCM response.

Exercising can show you areas in your BC plans requiring further attention and help you assess how you:

  • Work as a cohesive Team
  • React and respond to the pressures of an unfolding situation
  • Relocate and re-establish business services at an alternative site
  • Restore, repair or replace resources including IT, staff or infrastructure
  • Deal with OH&S and HR issues (decontamination, counselling, next of kin etc.)
  • Allocate roles and responsibilities to Teams.

The three key elements essential to an effective Exercise are:

  • Planning and preparation
  • Strong facilitation and direction during the Exercise itself
  • Documented issues and remediation plans to address all identified gaps.

Based on the Business Continuity Institute’s Good Practice Guide (BCI GPG), Linus recommends that organisations undertake an Exercising Program that progresses through seven (7) levels of depth and complexity, including:

  • Level 1 - Desk Check
    Check the structure and content of the plan

  • Level 2 - Walk Through
    Discuss the theory of the plan to check that it is usable

  • Level 3 – Simulation
    Use the plan to undertake a theoretical response to an incident

  • Level 4 – Unit Test
    Confirm that a recovery procedure or the recovery of a piece of technology works

  • Level 5 - Unit Rehearsal
    Practice a recovery procedure or the recovery of a piece of technology, following a script

  • Level 6 - End-to-End Test
    Confirm that the recovery of a complete area of the organization (a business process, product or service or inter-connected technologies) works

  • Level 7 - Full Rehearsal
    Practice the recovery of a complete area of the organization, a business process, product or service or interconnected technologies, following a script
Contact Linus to discuss your BC Plan Exercising requirements

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