As with any plan, it is important to test the plan to see how well it works and to regularly review to see if it needs updating. Trying out your emergency communications plan and making sure your backup supplier lists are current are two of the many things you can do to keep your plan relevant. The point isn't to put together a binder that sits on a shelf and gathers dust, but rather to focus on gathering important information and developing useful strategies that will actually work for your business in the event of a crisis in the future.
Exercising the plan is designed to:
Promote business continuity preparedness;
Evaluate business continuity strategies, operations, policies, plans, procedures or facilities;
Train personnel in business continuity duties;
Demonstrate operational capability;
Reveal planning weaknesses;
Reveal resource gaps;
Clarify roles and responsibilities;
Improve individual performance;
Develop enthusiasm, knowledge, skill and willingness to participate in business continuity.
Tips for Business
Not all risks are insurable. Insurance companies may provide financial assistance but you remain out of business. A Business Continuity Plan aims to keep your business running and makes it easier to resume operations after a disruption. No matter how big your insurance payout is, it cannot help you retain your customers.
Types of Exercises
Exercises fall into two different categories:
Seminars: These are informal and convey basic information.
Workshops: Participants actively share ideas and experiences. Plans and procedures may be developed. Designed to familiarize the employees with their roles and responsibilities.
Tabletops: Designed to test a hypothetical business disruption. The focus is on training, familiarization with roles, responsibilities, and procedures. Tabletop exercises are guided by a facilitator that walks the employees through the process. It is conducted in a stress-free and informal environment where participants are encouraged to ask questions.
Drills: Drills focus on a single operation or function.
Functional: Used for evaluating the functions of an Emergency Operations Centre or alternate business recovery site. Require considerable preparation time and multiple exercise staff.
Full-Scale: Full-scale exercises attempt to simulate a real business disruption. This is as close as it gets to a real event. This exercise takes place on location where the hypothetical disruption has occurred. Actual equipment, personnel, and business partners are often included in a full-scale exercise.