For the second to last post of this series we will cover the Top 10 Tips for Recovery Exercises.
1. Be “Disaster Ready” not “Exercise” Ready – It’s easy to focus on exercise procedures, especially if you test your plans frequently. Make sure personnel and plans are testing a real disaster scenario, not just the exercise.
2. Establish exercise standards by RTO and RPO – Exercise applications based on RTO and RPO requirements; higher criticality means frequent exercises. Determine recovery sequence and pre-requirements within each RTO group.
3. Create exercise roadmap to maximize consistency – Use a standard roadmap outlining the steps to take before each and every exercise from 60 days out to the day of the exercise. This ensures exercises become a process. Map out a strategy in manageable stages to achieve your exercise goals, making sure they are in line with the BCP Strategy.
4. Use standard exercise planning methodology – Following your developed Roadmap and using proven methods can cut down on the trial-and-error stage of preparation and advance your BCP program overall.
5. Always use primary and alternates in exercises – Practice makes perfect, or at least better! Endeavor to have the people who would participate in a disaster event perform recovery in the exercise. If they are not the subject matter experts you may want to review the designations.
6. Enforce “SIBPLT” exercise methodology – Exercise applications incrementally from Standalone to Integrated to Business Process and Load Tested.
7. Exercise throughout the year, if possible – Test recovery methodology as applications or technology changes or new applications are implemented.
8. Resolve post exercise action items within 45 days – Timely resolution of issues yields better results as the exercise is still fresh in the minds of the participants.
9. Strive to prove highest level of recoverability – Try to exceed the designated Recovery Time and Recovery Point Objectives. Test integration and data flow to the highest level your strategy allows.
10. Request management attendance at exercises – Participation gives Management a sense of ownership which can lead to increased involvement and more effective support. In a disaster they will have a role and need to be aware of the recovery process, support and required communication.
Next week … Us, as Planners