Eagle Rock’s Test Planning and Support Services are designed to validate through testing, the capability of new or existing business continuity plans to recover critical business functionality following an unplanned outage or disaster. With respect to existing plans, Eagle Rock will ensure that the procedures are in place to test each critical facet of an organization’s disaster plan and to what degree those plans are fully capable of supporting the required level of business resumption.
Why Test and Exercise?
- Promote awareness
- Provide opportunity to test, practice and keep the plan current
- To engage the proper personnel
- To answer critical questions such as:
- Does the plan work?
- Does the team work?
- Does the plan meet the company’s needs?
- Where is the plan weak?
- What are the ramifications?
Working with the designated in-house personnel and existing program artifacts from the most recent tests, Eagle Rock will develop test scope, objectives and validation criteria to ensure that computers, backup voice and data networks, and alternate business and/or IT recovery facilities remain capable of supporting a viable recovery. Eagle Rock will document test results and recommendations for strengthening the Business Continuity Program.
Table Top and Structured Walkthrough Exercises
Eagle Rock’s approach to the exercises begins with a comprehensive understanding of a client’s needs. Our philosophy maintains that each client has unique requirements, and our exercises are customized for each client environment. The Table Top or Structured Walkthrough session will be facilitated by an experienced professional from the Eagle Rock team. This allows for more real-world examples and a guided set of discussions that take full advantage of Eagle Rock’s extensive “hands on” recovery experience.
The Eagle Rock Solution conducting a table top exercise:
Table Top Exercise and Structured Walkthrough Programs are time-tested, proven and designed to:
- Heighten awareness of the Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Programs
- Educate managers and employees on the execution of Business Continuity and Crisis Management Plans
- Exercise plans in the context of a carefully designed disaster scenario
- Identify opportunities for further strengthening of existing plans
The Eagle Rock Table Top Exercise Program offers the following features and options:
- Custom Designed Scenario Development
- Professional Session Materials
- Expert Exercise Facilitation
- Post Exercise “After Action” Report with Observations and Recommendations
- Multimedia Presentation for the exercise
- Facilitation Guide for Future Sessions Facilitation
Business Continuity Operational Exercises
Business continuity operational exercises are conducted to validate the documented business resiliency process and procedures in the business continuity plans through participation in and observation of the simulated recovery of critical business environments. Such exercises are designed to take the typical table top exercise and structured walkthrough to the next logical level of detail, difficulty and reality and thus better test the efficacy of the business continuity plans and the personnel’s ability to execute under time constraints using real resources. For many business units, the business continuity operational exercise is as far as the program may go, but for more critical business units it is often a stepping stone to a more robust mock disaster exercise for those organizations who choose to go to that level.
Typically, a business continuity operational exercise will simulate the recovery of several critical business units and functions, inclusive of business processes, working groups, telephony, data connectivity and business applications at the alternate site(s). The scope of test activities includes all operations activities, from the time of notification until all critical business systems have been recovered at a company’s business alternate site(s) and critical business functions have been performed at those alternate sites and/or remotely.
The Eagle Rock Solution to conducting business continuity operational exercises:
The enterprise business recovery plan will be activated, multiple teams assembled and resiliency procedures executed to recover business processes. The business units will utilize their business continuity plans to conduct business operations. Often the Crisis Management Team convenes before, during and after the Exercise to simulate its roles in guidance, instruction and interaction with the business and among the executive ranks at these three stages of the Crisis Management process during a real crisis.
The exercise will be analyzed and monitored by the Eagle Rock Consultant using pre-determined measurement criteria. A test results report will be prepared assessing the degree of success, and presenting suggested appropriate actions to correct deficiencies in the plan.
Third Party Test Monitoring
Third party test and exercise monitoring is a practice used by organizations to objectively evaluate the effectiveness of business continuity, IT disaster recovery and/or crisis management plans in the test and exercise sessions of the enterprise resilience management program. First-time testers, annual audit and compliance reviews and mature enterprise resilience programs with rigorous testing programs utilize the expertise and objectivity of industry practitioners to observe, evaluate and comment on the exercise and to perform various roles prior to, during and after the exercise.
Examples of typical goals and objectives for the Eagle Rock observers in this activity:
- Validating the adequacy and completeness of plans, procedures and capabilities in place
- Observing coordination among business, corporate, IT and key service activities
- Verifying the effectiveness of internal and external communication activities during the test
- Validating user connectivity and application access through test scripts
- Verifying exercise objectives were met and provide comments on strengths and recommendations for improvement to establishing/meeting future exercise objectives
- Adding valuable advisory assistance during the exercise when requested
The Eagle Rock Solution to monitoring third party tests:
Prior to the exercise, focused planning meetings are held with the various recovery teams and Eagle Rock observers. These planning meetings allow Eagle Rock observers to become familiar with the business functions, applications, systems and technology that are in scope for the exercise. In addition, Eagle Rock can assess the recovery teams’ documentation and identify gaps so that the documentation can be enhanced. Examples of test documentation often reviewed are:
- Comprehensive master project plan, including all pertinent categories and detail
- List of business functions and technology in scope for the exercise
- System recovery plans
- Contact lists, resource schedules and other supporting documents
Eagle Rock will provide the required number of resources to properly observe and record the results of the exercise during prescribed time periods. These resources will be well versed in both business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities and familiar with the test exercise plan. Coverage for around-the-clock activities over multiple days at several sites may also be provided.
Eagle Rock consultants are prepared to be flexible in providing coverage for this exercise so that resources can be moved from one location to another, upon request where feasible. The Eagle Rock report will be provided within days after the conclusion of the exercise.