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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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. 

Contributors

  • 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, SQLskills.com 

Get the Complete Storyboard

See how all the steps you need to take come together, with tools and advice to help with each task on your list.

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Get to Action

  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.

  3. Create the DR test plan

    Create the necessary documentation and tools needed before testing can commence.

  4. Translate lessons learned into improving overall preparedness

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

Guided Implementation icon Guided Implementation

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

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. 

Activities: Outputs:
1.1 Review current testing practices
1.2 Assess current capabilities for all system tiers
1.3 Assess current proficiency and need
  • Defined current testing capabilities and likelihood of success
1.4 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.

Activities: Outputs:
2.1 Complete roles and responsibilities documentation
2.2 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. 

Activities: Outputs:
3.1 Complete the Test Plan Summary
  • Complete test schedule and prioritized list of systems to include in testing
3.2 Construct the Passive Testing Handbook
  • Established methodology for passive testing
3.3 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. 

Activities: Outputs:
4.1 Creation of the DR Test Plan Results Summary Presentation
  • Competed executive presentation deck
4.2 Review of current readiness
  • Indication of capability growth
4.3 Review of all test plans
  • Updated planning documentation

Workshop Icon 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 road map in place to complete your project successfully.

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