Top 100 Tips for BCP Success in 2012 – Recovery Exercises

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

About
Michael Herrera
Michael Herrera is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MHA. In his role, Michael provides global leadership to the entire set of industry practices and horizontal capabilities within MHA. Under his leadership, MHA has become a leading provider of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery services to organizations on a global level. He is also the founder of BCMMETRICS, a leading cloud based tool designed to assess business continuity compliance and residual risk. Michael is a well-known and sought after speaker on Business Continuity issues at local and national contingency planner chapter meetings and conferences. Prior to founding MHA, he was a Regional VP for Bank of America, where he was responsible for Business Continuity across the southwest region.