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Reduce Costly Downtime Through DR Testing

Improve the accuracy of your DRP and your team’s ability to efficiently execute recovery procedures through regular DR testing.

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  • Bernard A. Jones, Manager Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery – HS&E Business Continuity, Novartis Business Services
  • Robert Nardella, IT Service Management, Certified z/OS Mainframe Professional
  • Larry Liss, Chief Technology Officer, Blank Rome LLP
  • Paul Kirvan, FBCI, CISA, Independent IT Consultant/Auditor, Paul Kirvan Associates
  • Steve Tower, Management Consultant, Steve Tower, Disaster Recovery Plans & Assessments
  • Joe Starzyk, Senior Business Development Executive, IBM Global Services
  • Thomas Bronack, Enterprise Resiliency and Corporate Certification Consultant, DCAG
  • Paul S. Randal, CEO & Owner, 

Your Challenge

  • Customers, regulators, as well as your executive team are demanding that you test your DRP, but resources are scarce.
  • Most DR tests are focused solely on the technology and not the DR management process – which is where most plans fail.
  • Over 60% of organizations that are testing do not document the results, so they fail to properly show evidence of testing and incorporate lessons learned into their DRP.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Be proactive – plan an annual test cycle that enables you to identify and coordinate resources well in advance.
  • Don’t focus on one test. Plan a series of tests from walkthroughs to functional tests to validate both the DR process and technical capabilities.
  • If you treat DR testing as a pass/fail exercise, you aren’t meeting the end goal of improving your DRP. Focus on identifying gaps and risks before a real disaster hits.

Impact and Result

  • Create an effective DR test plan by following a structured process to discover current capabilities and defining test procedures for the entire range of testing methodologies. This includes:
    • Defining current readiness through a comprehensive action items list, proficiency assessment, and needs analysis.
    • Creating comprehensive test documentation that will support the test facilitator through both passive and active testing.
    • Implementing a thorough review program that will incorporate learning points from testing into everyday operations. 

Research & Tools

1. Determine DR testing readiness and scope

Establish the current testing maturity of the organization.

2. Create a project charter to build a test plan

Construct a project charter that guarantees executive buy-in for the project.

4. Translate lessons learned into improving overall preparedness

Create a process for continuous improvement in DR capabilities and be ready for future disasters.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a nine call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Determine your DR testing readiness and scope

Call #1 - DR testing overview, and identify current capabilities
Call #2 - Determine readiness for DR testing, and appropriate next steps

Guided Implementation #2 - Create a project charter to build a test plan

Call #1 - Identify and assign roles and responsibilities for building the test plan
Call #2 - Set expectations for objectives, resource requirements, and target milestone dates

Guided Implementation #3 - Create the DR test plan

Call #1 - Identify resource requirements to execute the DR test
Call #2 - Plan your passive testing exercises
Call #3 - Plan your active testing exercises

Guided Implementation #4 - Turn lessons learned into better preparedness

Call #1 - Define a process for incorporating lessons learned from testing
Call #2 - Create a DRP review, testing, and maintenance schedule

Onsite Workshop

Discuss This Workshop

Book Your Workshop

Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Determine Your DR Testing Readiness and Scope

The Purpose

  • Identify current testing readiness based on current documentation and infrastructure, as well cross referencing against a list of necessary action items.
  • Determine current DR proficiency and need for DR testing. 

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Define current testing preparedness and determine the scope of testing that your organization is currently capable of.
  • Determine a high level testing strategy and outlook based on readiness, proficiency, and need. 




Review current testing practices


Assess current capabilities for all system tiers


Assess current proficiency and need

  • Defined current testing capabilities and likelihood of success

Discuss testing strategy

  • Analysis of best-fit testing strategy

Module 2: Create a Project Charter to Build a Test Plan

The Purpose

  • Identify roles and responsibilities for building the test plan.
  • Define project parameters and milestones.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Create project clarity with a project charter that outlines the objectives, resource requirements, and target milestone dates.




Complete roles and responsibilities documentation


Establish project parameters and milestones

  • Completed project charter with management sign-off

Module 3: Create the DR Test Plan

The Purpose

  • Plan and document the entire testing cycle.
  • Create all the necessary documentation that is needed before testing can commence.
  • Identify resource requirements to executive the DR test. 

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Identified which tests are included in the test cycle.
  • Define the roles and responsibilities of each test participant for the test cycle.
  • Create a repeatable process that can be leveraged on an ongoing basis for DR testing. 




Complete the Test Plan Summary

  • Complete test schedule and prioritized list of systems to include in testing

Construct the Passive Testing Handbook

  • Established methodology for passive testing

Construct the Active Testing Handbook

  • Established methodology for active testing

Module 4: Translate Lessons Learned Into Improving Overall Preparedness

The Purpose

  • Demonstrate growth in DR capabilities through DR testing to the management team.
  • Establish process for continual improvement of the DR process.
  • Incorporate DR testing mindset into operational decision making. 

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Formulation of a clear connection between improved DR capabilities and confidence in recoverability.
  • Consistently updated and validated DRP.
  • Competitive advantage when attracting customers who demand an effective DRP. 




Creation of the DR Test Plan Results Summary Presentation

  • Competed executive presentation deck

Review of current readiness

  • Indication of capability growth

Review of all test plans

  • Updated planning documentation