Testing Your Business Continuity Plan Before Disaster Does

When you think about it, there are only two ways to test a Business Continuity Program (BCP), pro-actively before a disaster or reactively once disaster has struck.


Creating a Business Continuity Program (BCP) is one thing, putting it to the test is something entirely different. Your plan will be tested for sure in one of two ways, either pro-actively prior to an emergency event or reactively in response to a disaster recovery situation.

Navigator Credit Union ($200M, Pascagoula, MS) put their BCP to the test in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Although the storm hit on a Monday, 95% of employees showed up for work even though many had lost their homes. Navigator’s plan focused on three distinct time windows, the first 24 hours, the next 48 hours, and the first 30 days. An initial first step to ensuring operations returned to normal quickly was the movement of employees to a satellite center in Georgia, giving the credit union time to implement other pieces of the plan. All told the test was successful and the credit union opened its doors to serve member 4 days after Katrina had struck.

Fortunately Navigator found their program was based on solid planning when it came time to put the wheels in motion. Your credit union doesn’t need to wait for a disaster however to test the operational effectiveness of a BCP. Ongoing Operations LLC proposes 7 steps for developing a business continuity plan which included setting your goals and objectives, and measure your success to ensure your program is tested prior to swinging into action.

7 Steps for Developing and Testing Your BCP

  1. Set Goals and Objectives – Focus on measurable and attainable goals, with detailed interim steps in order to gauge success.
  2. Assign Specific Roles – Delegate and enforce participants responsibilities.
  3. Identify Responsibilities – Participants should keep a running log of all their activities pertaining to the plan and a check list of resources they will need.
  4. Coordinate with Vendors – Reassuring their commitment to the plan reinforces piece of mind and certainty that they will meet all of your expectations.
  5. Test – Run a test, have two different people keep logs of events and times. This will give you two accounts when it comes to test analysis.
  6. Analyze Testing – Wait no more than 3 days so that events are fresh in the minds of participants. Use both logs to compare and contract what worked and what didn’t.
  7. Measure and Report – Make certain your criteria for success was met, and where they were not establish clear objectives to meet them.



April 21, 2008



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