Business Continuity Management – Support activities and functions requiring testing and exercising

“The main purpose of an exercise is to rehearse and evaluate arrangements, give staff practice in the roles they have been assigned and trained for, and confirm that arrangements actually work in practice.” (BS 11200:2014 section 8.6 – rehearsing crisis management arrangements).

The Incident Management Team: All organisations need to have in place an overarching body of senior managers who will be responsible for ensuring that the organisation has the ability to cope with and manage a BCM incident. This group of senior managers is the Incident Management Team (IMT). The IMT will often have the responsibility act as the BCM steering committee and as such one of their tasks will be to sign off the exercises programme and set the frequency for exercising, the scope of the programme, risk management, resources and ensure that those taking part have the necessary skills and competences.

The IMT, as part of the overall programme, will need to undertake their own exercise regime on a regular basis to make certain that not only can an incident be managed but that the recovery of the functions and activities required to support the outcomes of the organisation can be achieved within the required Recovery Time and Recovery Point Objectives to the minimum acceptable levels of resumption. They would also need to identify, de-conflict and resolve any issues between the recovery requirements of organisations departments in order to safeguard a return to ‘business as usual’.

The support mechanisms that enable the business to operate will need to be tested and exercised and these will usually include the following areas:

Facilities Management (premises and work spaces): Both technical tests and exercises will be needed to see whether the key requirements identified in the BC Plans for FM arrangements are adequate. This would ensure that, in the event of a loss of the facilities, the organisation will be able to operate and test any arrangements that have been made for alternative accommodation and facilities would be available and fit for purpose.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT): Testing procedures are in place to ensure there would be a safe shutdown of systems with minimal data loss; there is the ability to failover services between data centres and to maintain the security of stored data; to ensure the security of hardware such as servers, Desktop PCs and Laptops; and to test the communications facilities such as remote access (working from home) and items such as up to date call trees for email and SMS.

Finance:  to ensure that arrangements were in place to be able to pay the organisation’s bills, Payroll and test the reliance on ICT services, the maintenance of records and financial information; and the availability of key staff with the correct financial skill sets.

Human Resources: To facilitate the organisation’s requirement for effective use of its Human Resources and to make sure that there will be cooperation in BC and recovery efforts across the organisation through tests and exercises that will ensure that: staff are aware of their roles; HR data is up to date; training records are available with regard to the skills audit and the ability to cope with the unavailability of key staff.

How can Biscon help?

Biscon Planning Limited is a leading and well respected independent supplier of Risk and Business Continuity Management requirements, who have expertise experience, and access to specialist knowledge. Biscon have successfully introduced and implemented business continuity strategies, policies and plans into many organisations through recognising both commonalities and differences in their approach and using their knowledge, personal experience and industry best practices to facilitate the successful implementation of your BCM system.

At Biscon, we do not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach and so create bespoke plans that are tailored to suit the individual needs of our clients. A BCP delivered by Biscon would help your organisation meet its core objectives of maintaining its operations following any acute disruption to your normal activities. Our programmes of work can deliver such requirements as an operational Risk Register, a Business Impact Analysis that highlights the impact on functions and activities and a comprehensive Business Continuity Management Plan.

Biscon can provide you with a FREE ‘Health Check’ of your current levels of resilience; just give us a call to arrange yours.

If you need assistance with any aspect of your Business Continuity programme, then call Biscon on +44 1453 889250 or email Jim Nield at jimnield@biscon.co.uk. Also please see our website; www.biscon.co.uk for further information.