Essentials to business disaster preparedness — #5: Test your plan and review it often Posted on August 28, 2012 by Tim Burke Business continuity plans aren’t worth a whole lot if they don’t work. And you cannot know whether or not they work unless you test them. So that’s my fifth step toward business disaster preparedness: Test your plan — often. Testing your plan frequently is essential. Change has a way of sneaking up on organizations, and those changes can disrupt your carefully laid plan to overcome disruptions. Fortunately, the right service provider will include regular testing in the price of your service. The other part of business continuity plan testings to regularly conduct a comprehensive plan review. I recommend putting this on your calendar at least once a year — and more frequently if your business is fast-paced or growing or revamping how it does IT. And when I say ‘review’, I mean you should go over your plan top to bottom and expect to make changes so it’s adapted to reflect changes in your organization. Generally, this involves three parts: Updating your data backup/replication policies to incorporate changes and then testing for backup/recovery efficiency and accuracy, Testing/verifying the functionality of your hardware and applications, and Testing/verifying the effectiveness of your recovery protocols and processes in the face of business changes. Here, as in so many technology-related circumstances, the right service provider can help you with expert analysis, testing, and verification capabilities that ensure your IT infrastructure continues to be sufficiently resilient.