July 08, 2024 / Blog

Revitalizing Business Continuity Exercise Planning: A Fresh Perspective

Bob Farkas and John Hill

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In the dynamic world of business, the ability to adapt and respond to unexpected disruptions is crucial. Infinite Blue was founded to help organizations reach total enterprise resilience which, oftentimes, requires effective Business Continuity Planning (BCP). Our approach to BCP exercises is designed to validate plans and engage teams in a way that fosters a deep understanding of recovery roles and actionable improvements to ensure robust efficient recoveries.

Organizations relying too much on predictable BCP exercises, like tabletops, risk missing new threats that could harm their recovery. These repetitive scenarios don’t encourage thinking beyond daily routines or recognizing changes that might hinder recovery. Infinite Blue’s external perspectives are crucial as internal employees may overlook existing processes and weaknesses. Infinite Blue’s Advisory Services offer fresh insights, identifying risks and inefficiencies that internal teams may miss. By using our services, organizations can improve resilience and ensure a thorough assessment of their recovery strategies. Adapting tabletop exercises with an outside perspective to reflect current and potential risks is essential for robust resilience.

Producing Engaging BCP Scenarios

The key to a successful BCP exercise lies in the scenario’s design—it must be fresh, relevant, and plausible:

  • Fresh: To encourage participant engagement, we move beyond overused scenarios like fires or power outages and instead craft unique situations that challenge teams to think outside the box.
  • Relevant: Our scenarios are tailored to the specific context of your business, ensuring that they resonate with your operational environment and provoke critical thinking for enhanced recoverability.
  • Plausible: We create scenarios within the realm of possibility, avoiding far-fetched events that hinder immersion and understanding of the exercise’s implications.

A Case Study in Innovation

We recently partnered with a major manufacturer that had previously conducted exercises that failed to bring meaningful changes to their recovery plans. We made it our mission to create a scenario that would have a plant-wide impact and involve all departments.

After thorough analysis and collaboration with the client’s BC project and plant managers, we developed a scenario involving an outage at the plant’s local Data Center. This scenario was not only fresh and relevant, highlighting the increasing dependency on IT infrastructure but also plausible, considering the Data Center’s proximity to potential hazards.

The Exercise in Action

The exercise brought together representatives from all recovery groups, fostering a collaborative environment where new critical gaps were identified. The realization that an impact on the plant could shut down surrounding facilities underscored the need for a holistic outage and recovery perspective with contingency actions and manual workarounds.

Key Takeaways

Our experience underscores the importance of:

  • Developing scenarios that are fresh, relevant, and plausible.
  • Conducting due diligence to understand the environment where the scenario will unfold.
  • Engaging all key stakeholders in the exercise.
  • Embracing creativity throughout the process.

At Infinite Blue, our advisory team is dedicated to guiding and assisting organizations in constructing and conducting meaningful BCP exercises. Our expertise ensures that your team is not only prepared for disruptions but can also respond with confidence and agility.

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