BC/DR Plan Testing: Two Companies Doing It Right

Here at Rentsys, we stress the importance of testing your BC/DR plan, because without running through a simulated disaster scenario, you can't know if your plan works properly. Testing gives you the opportunity to work out any kinks and evaluate the efficiency of your plan — not to mention it helps you better prepare for disasters.

Men setting up computers in mobile workspaceA little more than 30 percent of companies test their DR plans once a year, which is the minimum we suggest. Unfortunately, 81 percent of these companies discover issues, and 11 percent report major problems or complete failure. Around 17 percent never test their plans at all, so if they encounter problems during a full-blown recovery, they might not be able to resolve the issues properly, if at all.

To demonstrate the benefits of planning ahead and testing your plan, we're highlighting two companies that do it right.

Wal-Mart


"We have such a big footprint that we are going to deal with something every day." — Jason Jackson, Director of Emergency Management for Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart has a team of nearly 40 people dedicated to emergency recovery, business continuity and preparedness. These people are separated into four teams, each dedicated to a different facet of planning and recovery.

Alarm Operations: Handles day-to-day business interruptions such as fire alarms, burglaries and the company emergency hotline. 
Response and Recovery: Manages the Emergency Operations Center.
Business Continuity: Covers planning, disaster recovery, business impact analyses and more.
Preparedness: Organizes implementation, validation and testing of the BC/DR plans.

By dedicating teams to different stages in the process, Wal-Mart is able to streamline its emergency preparedness and recovery, enabling the company to successfully prepare for and recover from countless disasters while also helping the communities where disasters strike.

AT&T


"Lots of people do paper exercises, but we roll out the assets and do the actual exercises so our people know exactly what to do." — Mark Francis, VP of Global Network Operations Planning and Support for AT&T

AT&T has been a leader in disaster preparedness for over 20 years, and completed its 70th full field technology recovery exercise in September 2013. The AT&T Network Disastery Recovery (NDR) team believes they need to test their plans before disasters occur to ensure that employees know what to do in the event of a disaster and that management has the right teams selected for each job.

AT&T regularly runs full-scale test scenarios because different events could cause different snags and call for special recovery equipment. Testing this often allows AT&T to respond quickly during real disasters. The necessary teams immediately gather and review the severity of the disaster at hand. AT&T also has an emergency hotline for employees to call in the event of a disaster to let management know where they are and that they're safe. As a result of its hard work, AT&T become the first private-sector organization to receive the PS-PrepTM certification.

By following the examples of Wal-Mart and AT&T, your company can fully prepare for different disasters by running through scenarios regularly. For more information about how to improve your DR preparedness, check out our post "How to Get a Passing Grade on DR Preparedness."

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