• Español (LATAM)
  • Português (LATAM)
  • English (APAC)

How Often Should a Business Continuity Plan Be Reviewed?

Today’s business landscape is in a constant state of uncertainty. As we navigate the unknowns, it is important to make business continuity planning a priority. 

A comprehensive business continuity plan (BCP) can mean the difference between weathering a disaster gracefully with minimal disruption to business operations and taking a devastating hit to your revenue and reputation. Implementing a BCP is about building resiliency for your business, so it is important to create a BCP that offers both protection and a recovery strategy. 

As with any complex, integrated business initiative, you can’t set-and-forget a BCP if you want it to work when you need it. A high-functioning BCP requires regular maintenance and quality reviews. 

How Often Should You Review the Business Continuity Plan?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a short and sweet answer to how frequently you need to review your BCP. The truth is, it depends.

The more complex the plan , the more care and feeding it requires. For example, a large, multinational corporation will require a far more intensive continuity plan than a two-person startup. 

The products and services an organization provides also play a large role in how often the BCP needs to be reviewed and updated. Companies that rely on complex supply chains will need to ensure their BCP addresses dependencies, vulnerabilities, and changes that affect continuity along the chain.

Highly regulated industries such as healthcare and banking need to maintain compliance and regulatory standards, so frequent review of the BCP is necessary to ensure all requirements will be met in the event of an outage or other disruption.

How frequently you need to schedule BCP reviews is also dependent on the type of technology your organization has in place. Some organizations have implemented business continuity tools that provide automated backup, high availability, and email archiving technologies that can be easily tracked through a central management console, minimizing the need for frequent reviews.

Establish a Schedule to Test Different Parts of the Business Continuity Plan

You may have heard the saying, “If you don’t test your business recovery plan, you don’t have a business recovery plan.” Even with robust automated tools in place, you can’t leave business continuity to chance. It is crucial to schedule regular testing to ensure your BCP will work when you need it. 

That’s not to say you need to run a full, end-to-end recovery test each month. Here is a breakdown of the generally accepted BCP test schedule:

Checklist Test—Twice a Year

Two times a year, conduct a high-level check that objectives are still being met by the current BCP. If you find gaps, correct the plan and recirculate to all stakeholders.

Emergency Drill—Once a Year

An annual emergency drill will help ensure everyone knows what to do if there’s a disaster. The leaders conducting the drill should observe the staff’s response. This is especially important with today’s fluctuating employment outlook as new hires may not be aware of BCP protocols.  

Tabletop Review—Every Other Year

This is the time to sit down with all stakeholders, leadership, and the business continuity response team to look for gaps, inconsistencies, and outdated information. This should be a business-driven (not IT-driven) review because business objectives and priorities may have changed.

Comprehensive Review—Every Other Year

A lot can change in a couple of years. This review should include a reassessment of risks, a new impact assessment, and an updated recovery plan.

Recovery Simulation Test—Every 2-3 Years

This is the big one. Simulate a real disaster and walk through your BCP from end to end so you are confident that operations can be quickly restored after a major disruption.

When to Do an Unscheduled Business Continuity Plan Review

Even if you stick to the recommended schedule, there will be events that require an impromptu BCP review. 

For example, a major system outage or security event may expose gaps in continuity coverage that need to be addressed. Also, as mentioned above, we are seeing a large amount of personnel movement, so more frequent reviews may be needed to ensure everyone is on the same page.

If your organization undergoes a major technology change—a new email system, a move from on-premises servers to the cloud, upgraded POS software—a BCP review is crucial to incorporate new hardware, dependencies, business priorities, and so on into the continuity plan. 

Post-Business Continuity Plan Review Activities

After any BCP review, you’ll need to take a few follow-up steps. First, update the BCP with any changes you identified, including new links and passwords, recovery team member changes, and shifts in priorities and business objectives.

Then prepare and present a report to company leadership and stakeholders. Visibility is key to successful recovery after a major disruption, so it is important that everyone is aware of changes and updates to the continuity plan. 

It is difficult to get all the major players in one place at one time, so the end of the annual tabletop review is the perfect opportunity to create the next year’s testing schedule.

Tips to Ensure the Business Continuity Plan Review Is a Success

No one likes to waste time or effort, so here are a few best practices that can help ensure your BCP reviews go smoothly: 

  • Schedule testing so it doesn’t disrupt normal operations.
  • Walk through the tests with staff ahead of time so they know what to expect and you can estimate how long the real test will take.
  • Establish the review objectives up front and re-evaluate them as needed.

Successful business continuity doesn’t just happen. Implementing a comprehensive BCP and then reviewing and updating the plan regularly is the only way to ensure your business applications are available when your users need them. 

To learn more about creating a bulletproof BCP, download Smart Strategies for Business Continuity now. 

  • Business Continuity
  • Need help now? Talk to our Incident Response Team
  • 605-923-8722
  • [email protected]
  • Request a Quote
  • Cyber-RISK Login
  • Join Our Mailing List
  • Job Openings
  • Network Security Audit
  • Vulnerability Assessment
  • Penetration Testing
  • Social Engineering
  • CyberSecurity Partnership / vCISO
  • Incident Response Team
  • Business Continuity Planning
  • Incident Response Planning
  • Security Awareness Training
  • Full Service Vendor Management
  • FTC Safeguards Rule
  • Virtual IT Audit
  • Remote Work Security Assessment
  • Microsoft 365 Controls Assessment
  • Cybersecurity Essentials Assessment
  • Incident Readiness Assessment
  • Certifications
  • Hacker Hour
  • Free Downloads
  • Meet Our Speakers
  • Speaker Request
  • TRAC: Risk Management Software
  • KnowBe4: Phishing Assessment Tool
  • FFIEC Cybersecurity Assessment
  • Verify: ACH Fraud Detection Software
  • Cybersecurity Toolkits
  • Join a Weekly Demo!
  • Our Company
  • Working at SBS
  • Words From Our Employees
  • Testimonials
  • Endorsements

Four Steps to Better Business Continuity Plan Testing

Four Steps to Better Business Continuity Plan Testing

Business continuity planning is a process that is vital to your organization. There is always the possibility that your organization’s critical business processes could be negatively affected for reasons that are often beyond your control, so it's best to be prepared. If a disruption occurs, it’s essential that your organization has a plan to address any potential issues and ensure that your organization can still serve your customers.

However, if you’ve never enacted your plan, it’s hard to be confident that your plan will be sufficient. Testing your business continuity plan (BCP) helps to continuously improve your ability to recover successfully from various scenarios, whether it be a natural disaster or a communications failure. The good news is that there’s not just one way to test your BCP. Here are four steps to help you build a better business continuity plan testing program and ensure you are prepared for any situation that may come your way.


The first step to better BCP testing is to incorporate different testing methods. You can utilize various methods to test the usability and effectiveness of your business continuity plan. Some of the possible test methods provided by the FFIEC include:

  • Tabletop Exercise: A tabletop exercise (sometimes referred to as a walk-through) is a discussion during which personnel review their BCP-defined roles and discuss their responses during an adverse event simulation. The goal of a tabletop exercise is to determine whether targeted plans and procedures are reasonable, personnel understand their responsibilities, and different departmental or business unit plans are compatible with each other.  
  • Limited-Scale Exercise: A limited-scale exercise is a simulation involving applicable resources (personnel and systems) to recover targeted business processes. The goal of a limited-scale exercise is to determine whether targeted systems can be recovered and whether personnel understand their responsibilities as defined in the plan.  
  • Full-Scale Exercise: A full-scale exercise simulates full use of available resources (personnel and systems) prompting a full recovery of business processes. The goal of a full-scale exercise is to determine whether all critical systems can be recovered at the alternate processing site and whether personnel can implement the procedures defined in the BCP. For example, a full-recovery exercise might simulate the complete loss of primary facilities.

Step two is to understand how often to test. Although there is no hard-and-fast standard for determining how often to test your business continuity plan, some general guidelines are typically recommended. Note that each of these timeframes will depend on your organization’s industry, size, personnel, available resources, and current BCP maturity levels. Don’t take these timelines as gospel, as they are strictly that: guidelines.

SBS recommends reviewing each of your emergency preparedness plans (business continuity, disaster recovery, incident response, and pandemic preparedness) throughout the course of a given year. Testing would typically include an annual tabletop test of all four individual EPP plans, testing multiple scenarios for threats you identify as a higher risk to your organization. Be sure to test the scenarios you believe to be the highest risk to your organization most frequently. You can use your business continuity risk assessment to help identify which threats are particularly impactful/probable to the organization.

Additionally, a limited-scale exercise is recommended at least annually, but such a test is largely dependent on the size and complexity of your organization and the maturity of your failover procedures. For example, if your organization’s goal is to have a fully-functional failover DR backup site, but you have not yet achieved full-failover mirroring and backups, implementing this complex backup process and testing to ensure everything works correctly from failover to failback may take years to achieve. In comparison, testing file-level restores from nightly backups is something any organization can do quickly and frequently today.

However, if your organization has any significant changes in processes, systems, or plan details, you may want to perform these tests more frequently. To reiterate, these timelines are highly dependent on your organization; it may not be feasible or logical to perform some of these tests at a particular frequency. Base this decision on your organization and its specific needs.

If you are looking for somewhere to start and what should be prioritized for testing, refer to your business impact analysis . This is an excellent way to not only identify your most critical processes, but also the assets/systems you rely on the most. Systems that you require to keep your most critical processes functioning should be tested more frequently, allowing you to validate proper recoverability and the timeframes of that recovery. Most organizations benefit greatly by having a testing schedule documenting their plans. This allows for a strategic approach to testing involving the organization's processes, systems, and vendors deemed necessary.

Including your vendors is the next step in improving your BCP testing. In the course of your testing cycle (whether a tabletop test, limited-scale exercise, or full-scale exercise), you’ll want to ensure your critical vendor partners are included in the testing process to whatever extent possible. Involving your vendors in this process not only allows you to test to a greater degree of accuracy and usability but also allows your vendors a chance to provide feedback that may be valuable to your plans or testing process.

Step Four: Document Your Testing

Finally, step four is to document your testing. Be sure to document the results of any testing performed, along with any actionable findings from those tests. Following up on these items and incorporating recommendations resulting from tests is the most important process in the BCP testing lifecycle. Testing, documenting the results of your testing, and implementing processes to improve your BCP is the best way to strengthen your organization’s response processes.

Testing, documenting the results of your testing, and implementing processes to improve your BCP is the best way to strengthen your organization’s response processes.

Resources and Testing Options

Numerous additional resources that your organization may use or participate in to continue maturing your BCP testing program are widely available. Here is a list of organizations and resources to help you perform such testing on your own organization’s BCP:

  • FS-ISAC (Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center) Exercises - https://www.fsisac.com/Exercises : A range of exercises, performed throughout the year, in which your organization can register and participate, including simulated cyber-attacks on payment and insurance systems, cyber-range, and regional exercises.
  • US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) - https://www.us-cert.gov/ccubedvp/business : A suite of resources focused on cybersecurity resilience and BCP testing resources.
  • FDIC Cyber Challenge - https://sbscyber.com/resources/fdic-resource-a-community-bank-cyber-exercise : A set of vignettes created to encourage community financial institutions to discuss operational risk issues and the potential impact of information technology disruptions on common banking functions.
  • Department of Homeland Security/FEMA Business Continuity Planning Suite - https://www.ready.gov/business-continuity-planning-suite : Video training series focusing on BCP basics, why a BCP is important, and best practices on generating and updating a BCP.
  • FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Independent Study Courses - https://training.fema.gov/is/crslist.aspx : Free courses provided by FEMA covering a wide range of topics, including DR response (fires/flooding/earthquake/tornado), pandemic response, effective communication, damage assessment, and more. FEMA also maintains Emergency Planning Exercises and free downloadable tabletop exercises here, https://www.fema.gov/emergency-planning-exercises .

Other Sources

  • https://ongoingoperations.com/business-continuity-test/
  • https://dynamicquest.com/3-ways-test-business-continuity-plan/
  • https://www.ready.gov/business-continuity-planning-suite
  • BCM (ffiec.gov)

Updated by: Cole Ponto Senior Information Security Consultant - SBS CyberSecurity, LLC

SBS Resources:

  • A key piece to any Information Security Program is a high-quality business continuity plan (BCP). Let SBS help design and test a comprehensive plan that encompasses four areas: business impact analysis, business continuity, disaster recovery, and pandemic preparedness. A well-structured plan can help mitigate the negative effects of a natural disaster, unexpected power outage, widespread illness, and many other unexpected events. Learn more.

Related Certifications:

Join our growing community of financial service professionals showing their commitment to strong cybersecurity with a cyber-specific certification through the SBS Institute. Click  here  to view a full list of certifications.

Certified Banking Business Continuity Professional

Upcoming Webinars

Webinar: FDIC InTREx Changes and Their Impact on Your Next IT Exam

Hacker Hour: What's Hot in Social Engineering

Cyber Showcase: The "Other" Risk Assessments

Cyber Showcase: Taking the Terror Out of Incident Response

Recent Posts

The New R-SAT: Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Grab and Go Resources for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Press Release: SBS CyberSecurity Welcomes Director of Product Management and Chief Revenue Officer

Top 5 Most Common Incident Response Scenarios

  • CB Security Manager
  • CB Security Technology Professional
  • CB Vendor Manager
  • CB Cybersecurity Manager
  • CB Ethical Hacker
  • CB Incident Handler
  • CB Security Executive
  • CB Business Continuity Professional
  • CB Vulnerability Assessor  
  • Certified TRAC Professional

business continuity plan testing schedule

(605) 269-0909

business continuity plan testing schedule

[email protected]

What is BCP testing?

Published on November 15, 2022

Jump to a section

Everything you need to know about business continuity, straight to your inbox.

Business continuity planning is only half the battle. An effective business continuity strategy must be effective in multiple scenarios and for various uncontrollable events.

You have put together a team responsible for crisis management and implementing your disaster recovery scenarios. To ensure business continuity, your key personnel must also ensure that these strategies have been tested and reviewed for effectiveness.

Man standing in front of a white board

BCP testing involves a series of exercises and simulation tests to mimic the effects of the crisis. An effective testing approach must involve various scenarios so your team can handle any situation with ease. Your testing should encompass readiness for different BC incidents , whether a small-scale issue like a power outage or a large-scale event like a cyber attack or a natural disaster.

Why is it essential to conduct BCP testing?

As a business owner, a positive mindset can go a long way. But it isn't particularly helpful if you're conducting a risk management and assessment strategy. You need to anticipate, plan for, and mitigate risks before they occur. If you don't, the entire organization could crumble and your business continuity would be at risk.

Testing the business continuity plan (BCP) is a must when you are developing your operational resilience strategies. If you are not conducting BC plan testing, you have no way to ensure that the strategy you have in place is the best at managing your perceived risks and threats.

Women checking out a document for disaster recovery planning

BCP testing enables you to achieve the following:

  • Identify any gaps in your existing business continuity plan, develop ways to address them and take corrective actions to increase the plan's maturity.
  • Identify interdependencies in various departments of your disaster recovery plan. You can use the test findings to develop a coordinated plan among department heads in the event of a disaster.
  • Speed up your company's response to a crisis and ensure compliance requirements are met.
  • Avoid having a damaged reputation because you can show your customers resilience during times of crisis.
  • Ensure that your business continuity plan is current and updated. Take actionable findings from your business continuity plan testing to identify where improvements are needed.

As a business owner, you have the responsibility to assess your continuity plan and whether regular testing is needed to avoid revenue loss resulting from an inadequate plan.

How often should you perform testing on business continuity plans?

Many businesses perform an annual plan review while others do it every six months. There are no hard and fast rules on the frequency of performing business continuity plan testing. It depends on the unique circumstances and needs of your company, as well as the type and nature of risks.

One thing is definite, though: the more complex the plan is, the more it requires testing and review.

Planner and pens on table with laptop

For example, a large multinational organization will require a more complex business continuity plan than a startup consisting of only five employees. The type of products or services offered by the company will also determine the complexity of the business continuity strategy and the subsequent business continuity tests to be done.

An extensive supply chain has more moving parts and that requires the company to ensure all those parts are working efficiently. Any disruption to the critical component of the company can result in the business temporarily halting operation, or inefficiencies in its operation.

Regulation is another factor that impacts the frequency of testing your business continuity plan. The healthcare and finance industries are two of the most highly regulated industries. If your company is part of this industry, you need to regularly conduct business continuity testing to ensure that you satisfy all the requirements for operation even during disruptive events.

The use of technological tools that automate business continuity plan testing is a smart investment for companies of all sizes. The automated review ensures that you don't have to perform regular manual testing of your business continuity strategy.

Why do companies fail to test their BCP?

In a nutshell, companies tend to realise how important business continuity planning is when disruptions have already affected their business. There are many factors and reasons why companies don't invest much time and effort in planning and testing, including:

1. Assumptions

Where time, effort and money have already been spent in the creation of a plan, businesses assume that the plan is and will always be effective.

Exercising will highlight assumptions such as whether all staff listed in the plan are available and able to complete their duty as required, if access is prohibited in required areas and for longer than anticipated, and if all IT systems and applications will be restored within expected timeframes and access to data be as expected.

It is these knock-on effects that have to be addressed in exercising, by coming up with solutions and going on to further exercise these.

Why do Companies Fail to Test Their BCP?

For example, carrying out regular checks of the company call tree allows a company to evaluate the response rate of staff members and verify telephone numbers communication is of ultimate importance during an incident, and as we know, contact details can change at any time.

The crisis management team should then be able to use the plan effectively during an incident, and the individuals listed in the plan will be better equipped to respond to their assigned duties.

2. Prioritization

Secondly, where resources are sparse and time and personnel are vital, testing as a priority can get pushed down the list. Lack of commitment, budgets, complacency and buy-in can lead to any scheduled testing getting shelved. These will put your business resilience at risk.

Experience shows that untested plans have a greater likelihood of failure, resulting in lost revenue, damage to reputation and impeded customer fulfilment.

As vital as testing is to the success of BCM, you must however not put the business at risk through the process of testing. As this activity can be time and resource heavy, it can be a complex process which is costly to an organisation of any size. Taking people out of their jobs at critical times, highlighted in your BIA, can be expensive and unnecessary. Good testing should have focus and planning to avoid this.

3. Compliance

Another way in which a lack of exercise and testing can negatively affect a business is the relationship these activities have with compliance. To fulfil the requirements outlined within the official ISO standard for Business Continuity, ISO 22301 , exercising and testing must be conducted at regular intervals by an organisation, which must then evaluate and record the findings of these events to continually improve and update its BCMS.


The standard is focused around the 'Plan-do-check-act' management model, and in this case, testing and exercise would fall into the check' step within the model, which is defined by ISO as to monitor and review performance against business continuity policy and objectives, report the results to management for review, and determine and authorize actions for remediation and improvement '.

An organisation therefore must conduct these activities regularly should they wish to certify, or even align with these standards as they certainly will not be successful in doing so if not.

Small business partners in a meeting

How to Perform BCP Testing

BCP testing should be able to provide you with confidence and validation that the BC and crisis management plans & strategies are feasible, and that all team members and staff are familiar with and understand their roles in the BC process.

Good testing should be focused and varied. There are various ways to test your business continuity plan. Make sure you use all of these methods so you can address various areas of your continuity plan and keep it updated.

The first tier of business continuity plan testing is the tabletop exercise. This testing method involves specific disaster situations and evaluating how your crisis response team deals with these scenarios. The goal of this test is to assess if any gaps weren't previously addressed.

To conduct the tabletop test, you must identify a realistic threat to the organization. Make sure that this threat is relevant to your industry or organization. Identify your continuity objectives for performing the tabletop test and create a schedule for how and when it will be conducted.

Use whatever information you obtain in the test, such as strengths and weaknesses, to create a successful continuity plan.

Man restoring data on his laptop

Plan Review

A plan review is like an audit of your business continuity plan details. It involves the business continuity team, department heads, and C-level management. They will take an in-depth look at the plan details to see if any areas need revision or if there are missing components.

The plan review is crucial for managers as they will be responsible for passing on this information to the rest of the employees. It's also a good opportunity to update the contact information of the BCP team as part of the emergency communication strategy.

It is also a type of test that is important if you have new employees. It should be included as part of their onboarding or training.

Man holding a pen and making phone calls in his office


A structured or walk-through exercise is another example of a test that you can use for the continuity plan. Unlike the tabletop test, this one is more active. It specifically deals with disaster recovery functions, such as restoring backup systems for data loss, verification of redundant systems, and addressing various mission-critical functions.

The walk-through test will involve the critical personnel who are part of your business continuity team. The critical personnel will be discussing plan details and designate roles on how to respond to a real-world disaster and the most disruptive events.

Full Simulation

The full simulation test is another method of testing your continuity plan details. This test must be performed to mimic the effects of a real disaster or disruptive event. You can also conduct a single-team simulation as part of testing a specific team's capacity to respond to specific disaster recovery scenarios.

A full-scale exercise is ideally done at full capacity; this means all of your employees and critical personnel are involved in the test. Make sure you undergo the previous exercises before you move on to the full-scale exercise.

Tips for keeping BCP current

Testing your business continuity plan ensures that it fits your organization's needs. It also minimizes the impact of multiple scenarios and disruptive events on the critical component of continuity.

New managers discussing emergency procedures in front of a white board

However, test findings update your existing continuity plans to ensure that they are relevant even as the circumstances affecting your company might have changed. The industry and the conditions that it operates in are constantly changing. You have to develop a methodical and systematic review of your continuity plans to meet your specific needs and enable faster recovery.

The following tips will enable you to come up with actionable findings that ensure your continuity planning is relevant and accurate.

Regular testing is a must

Regular tests are important if you want your business continuity planning to succeed. Things are constantly changing in the business landscape. There are known threats to your company and there are also new threats that emerge. Some of the things that were not previously a threat to your business existence might be a significant factor that can lead to revenue loss or damaged reputation .

You need to conduct testing to be able to gather the critical information and plan for how you can prepare for these different scenarios.

Internal communication is key

Communicating the overall risk and benefits that can come from an effective exercise and testing programme should be key to aid buy-in, support and uptake.

Making sure departmental awareness training is up-to-date is vital and makes testing more worthwhile. If an incident does occur and those listed in the plan have been trained and had their roles communicated effectively, then there is a greater chance of executing the plan successfully.

Integrate your business continuity planning with your Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

The most effective and updated continuity plans are those that accurately measure the scale of a disastrous event's impact on your company and its revenue potential.

Test your vendor's continuity plan

This approach is critical if your business relies on an effective supply chain management system. You need to ensure your vendor's success as it is also critical to your business success. It's a good idea to conduct facilitated discussions with critical vendors as they are an integral part of your continuity.

People working off site on a wooden table

The Bottom Line

A business continuity plan provides your organization with a blueprint for what steps to take in the event of a disaster. However, continuity planning is only as good as it fits the purpose. BCP testing is one of the ways that you can evaluate if the current plans and measures are aligned with your goals and needs.

Creating the business continuity plan is only the first step. You have more work to do in terms of testing and reviewing the results to ensure that it's doing its job in protecting your company from disruptive events, and enabling you to stay open.

An effective business continuity plan will help your business get through any operational downtime. Utilising a tool or software to assist in your BCP planning, including your testing and exercises can significantly improve your processes and simplify things for everyone involved.

Benefits of using web-based software to aid your Business continuity plan testing

At Continuity2, the Exercising module creates the exercise types according to your specific organisational needs, schedules the test, invites the relevant employees by email, defines the aims of the exercise, and communicates the details to the participants.

Woman looking at her BC and disaster recovery plans on her laptop.

Once completed, the software reports on the observations of the exercise and records recommendations and actions raised as a result of the exercise. All reports are distributed and signed off via the software and held within the system for Audit purposes.

Exercises are created and calendared via a simple to use interface where all of the exercises for an entire organisation can be planned and communicated easily, i.e. 15 minutes to plan and document an exercise and 20 minutes to report on the exercise after completion. Post-exercise reports are automatically produced by the system. Actions to improve are automatically captured in the systems action tracking module and included as part of the corrective action or continuous improvement function if desired.

Book a demo today to see the software in action and learn how to maximise your BCP testing processes and results.

Written by Aimee Quinn

Resilience Manager at Continuity2

With an Honours degree in Risk Management from Glasgow Caledonian University and 6+ years in Business Risk and Resilience, Aimee looks after the design and implementation of Business Continuity Management Systems (BCMS) across all clients. From carrying out successful software deployments to achieving ISO 22301, Aimee helps make companies more resilient and their lives easier in the long run.

C2 Author Aimee 1

Process Street

Business Continuity Plan Testing Checklist

Identify critical business functions and processes, establish objective for the continuity plan, identify critical resources needed to support business functions, approval: identification of critical resources.

  • Identify critical resources needed to support business functions Will be submitted

Develop recovery strategies for all identified critical business functions

Create business continuity plan document outlining the plan, establish testing schedule for the continuity plan, approval: testing schedule.

  • Establish testing schedule for the continuity plan Will be submitted

Identify and train the team responsible for the implementation of the business continuity plan

Conduct initial business continuity plan test, evaluate the results of the initial test, document findings and incorporate into the business continuity plan, approval: documented findings.

  • Evaluate the results of the initial test Will be submitted
  • Document findings and incorporate into the business continuity plan Will be submitted

Train employees on roles during a disaster or disruption

Conduct a full-scale test of the business continuity plan, evaluate and document results of full-scale test, approval: evaluation of full-scale test.

  • Conduct a full-scale test of the business continuity plan Will be submitted
  • Evaluate and document results of full-scale test Will be submitted

Enact changes based on the results of the full-scale test

Schedule regular reviews and updates of the business continuity plan, submit final business continuity plan for final approval, approval: final business continuity plan.

  • Submit final Business Continuity Plan for final approval Will be submitted

Take control of your workflows today.

More templates like this.


Technology advice for small businesses, testing your business continuity plan.

Trouble ahead

Relevant factors such as your business’s resources, location, suppliers, customers, and employees must be carefully analyzed before a business continuity plan can be formed. It is also necessary to test the plan and check whether it’s working or not. Here are some proven methods to test your continuity plan’s efficiency.

Review the BCP

You have a business continuity plan ready with all the necessary information, contingency locations, personnel, contacts and service companies. The question is can you really pull it off? Have the plan reviewed regularly, or at least quarterly. Gather a team of individuals, heads of departments and managers to discuss the plan. Focus on the business continuity plan’s feasibility and pinpoint any areas where it might be strengthened.

Determine time and duration to test the plan

You should decide how often you test your business continuity plan, and for how long. Even if you have a solid plan in place, it’s still wise to review it again after a few months. Come up with a schedule for testing the plan and share it with employees. Testing time may take anywhere from one day to two weeks. However, it can also take as little as three hours to determine the effectiveness of the plan by monitoring employees’ responses and decision-making abilities, based on the guidelines of the business continuity plan.

Outline objectives to employees

Most business continuity plans fail because they have never been properly relayed to employees. Emphasizing the plan’s importance to your business and demonstrating it to employees are crucial. You need to outline objectives for the business continuity test to your employees, informing them how you plan to measure its success and failure, so that they get a general idea of their roles and your expectations.

Create a scenario

Create a fake scenario that affects your business – whether it’s setting off fire alarms or announcing another disaster. Employees should act as though the scenario is genuine, and refer to their duties in the business continuity plan, going through it step by step. Monitor the time it takes to get everything under control, from contacting customers to checking business resources and temporary meeting locations.

After the business continuity plan is put to test, gather your employees to discuss the plan’s overall performance. Identify where it needs improvement and encourage the parts that worked best. Make changes to key persons and actions where necessary, to ensure that the continuity plan is working at its best.

Having a business continuity plan is good, but testing it regularly is equally important. Contact us today and see how we can help you cope with unexpected disasters.

Internet Presence Management for Small Business Owners

Full-service, pay-as-you-go all inclusive websites, from design and content to SEO and social media management for one low monthly price.

Learn more about our small business online marketing services.

Copyright 2023 Pronto Marketing. Permission required to use any content or RSS feeds from this website. The content on TechAdvisory.org is provided to clients of Pronto Marketing and part of Pronto’s complete IT services marketing program. Learn more how you can take advantage of this original content within a suite of marketing services at one low monthly price. Visit Pronto Marketing at https://www.prontomarketing.com .

Kezia Farnham Image

Business continuity plan maintenance: How to review, test and update your BCP

A professional updating their business continuity plan on a tablet.

We've written before about how all organizations need to have a robust business continuity plan . A comprehensive BCP gives your business assurance that it can continue operations, even in the event of an unexpected incident or full-blown crisis.

Putting in place a plan is the first stage in this process, but far from the only on Business continuity plan review checklist. Business continuity plan maintenance, review and testing form equally vital steps in your business continuity strategy.

Is Business Continuity Plan Maintenance Important?

Those who were best-prepared have shown themselves to be most resilient when it comes to facing the challenges of Covid-19 . The pandemic has provided an all-too-live example of the need for a plan B. If ever there was a time to be confident in your business continuity strategy, it's now. However, it's a mistake to think that creating a BCP is a one-time exercise; that once you've put your plan in place, you can sit back and breathe a sigh of relief. There's no room for complacency in business continuity ' the threats you face are ever-changing, and the potential remedial actions need to evolve in tandem. Your business continuity plan might follow best practice guidelines. You might be certified to ISO23301 standards and have put in place the ideal team to manage your disaster planning and BCP strategy. But none of this compensates for a BCP that has grown stale, failing to move with the times when it comes to identifying the latest threats and using the newest approaches to tackle them. That's why reviewing, testing and updating your BCP is as vital as the process of creating a plan in the first place.

Questions You Should Ask When Scheduling BCP Reviews and Drills

Your BCP   plan needs to be a   living document . Creating a BCP isn't a one-off; once you have put your plan in place, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • How often should a business continuity plan be reviewed?
  • How often should a business continuity plan be tested?
  • How often should a business continuity plan be updated?

Here we look at each of these questions and identify the best strategies for testing, updating and reviewing your plan.

The Importance of the Business Continuity Plan Review

Why is it important for the business continuity plan reports to be submitted and reviewed regularly? There are several reasons:

  • The nature and severity of the threats you face may change
  • Your business operations may have evolved, leading to, for instance, a larger number of entities or subsidiaries to consider in your planning or new operating geographies . You may have taken your company public , which brings with it a range of new regulatory obligations
  • Your personnel may have changed, so the people responsible for continuity planning may re no longer be current

Your business continuity plan should be reviewed when any of these situations apply. How often you should review your plan is another question organizations often ask; cio.com recommends that you '''Bring key personnel together at least annually to review the plan and discuss any areas that must be modified.''' Feedback from employees is essential in the review. Intentionally seek input from those involved in creating the plan and those involved in its execution. What can they tell you about changes to staff, operations or other factors that impact the plan? This is particularly important if you have numerous locations or remote operations where changes might not be immediately apparent to people sitting in a headquarters building. Ensuring your plan is based on comprehensive, accurate information about all your entities and subsidiaries ' a '''single source of truth' for your entire organization ' is vital. Putting in place a checklist is often a good strategy for any business review, and your BCP is no exception. Consider creating a business continuity plan review checklist to ensure you capture all the elements you need to consider. And of course, if you've been unfortunate enough to face a business continuity issue that forced the enactment of your plan, you can use the real-life experience you gained to finesse it. What worked well; what should be changed?

Business Continuity Plan Testing Considerations and Best Practices

Testing is an equally essential stage in ongoing BCP management. What should testing your business continuity plan look like? And during what stage of the business continuity lifecycle do we need to test the business continuity plan? Of course, the real test is an incident itself. But doing business continuity drills will give you the reassurance that your plan is robust enough to face a real incident ' and enables you to determine this in a less pressured way than waiting for a real crisis. 

Business Continuity Plan Testing Types

When it comes to types of business continuity plan testing, there are three main routes: a table-top exercise, a structured walk-through or full disaster simulation testing.

First: Table-top or role-playing exercises allow everyone involved in the plan to go through it and identify any missing steps, inconsistencies or errors. Second: A walk-through is a more in-depth test of your approach, with everyone involved examining their own responsibilities to spot any weak points. Third: A full simulation of a possible disaster goes a step further, creating a scenario that mirrors an actual disaster to determine whether your plan enables you to maintain operations. It should include your internal team, alongside any vendors or relevant external partners like security or maintenance companies. However you test your plan, it should be rigorous - CIO suggests that '''you try to break it' to ensure that it's fit for purpose. And whatever route ' or combination of approaches ' you choose, you should carry out business continuity plan testing at least once a year.

How To Keep Your Business Continuity Plan Current

Of course, however comprehensive your reviews and testing, they're of no benefit if you don't act on the findings. Updating your BCP is the final stage in the business continuity plan maintenance lifecycle, taking on board the results of your walk-through or simulation and finessing your plan to adopt any improvements noted during your reviews and tests. How often should a business continuity plan be updated? Every time you identify any shortcomings ' whether this is due to your testing/reviewing regime or whenever any errors or omissions come to light. What elements should you consider in an update? While all aspects of your plan are worth checking to ensure they remain current, some areas deserve singling out for special attention:

  • Your contact list: To ensure you have up-to-date details of everyone you need to contact in the event of an incident.
  • Your business entities and subsidiaries data : This forms the basis for your plan. Do you have an up-to-date picture of your organizational structure? Do you have accurate information on all your legal entities and critical functions?
  • Challenge assumptions: Play devil's advocate to challenge your beliefs about incidents that could occur.
  • Your technologies and systems: Including entity data management software , CRM systems and other IT systems central to supporting your operations.

Maintain Confidence in Your BCP

It's clear, then, that putting in place a BCP is only the first step. Reviewing, testing and updating your plan are all equally important stages. In other words, business continuity plan maintenance is crucial. Underpinning all of this is the need for reliable data on your organizational structure, people, systems and dependencies. Diligent's software suite can help you create the single source of truth you need to manage all your business entities effectively. Find out more by getting in touch with us for a no-obligation demo.

Solutions Solutions

  • Board Management
  • Enterprise Risk Management
  • Audit Management
  • Market Intelligence

Resources Resources

  • Research & Reports

Company Company

Your data matters.


  1. [Get 27+] 26+ Template Business Continuity Plan Example Pictures cdr

    business continuity plan testing schedule

  2. How to create an effective business continuity plan?

    business continuity plan testing schedule

  3. Best Practices In Business Continuity Planning

    business continuity plan testing schedule

  4. Business Continuity Plan Template (MS Word/Excel)

    business continuity plan testing schedule

  5. Business Continuity Plan Checklist Template

    business continuity plan testing schedule

  6. Printable Business Continuity Plan Checklist Template in 2021

    business continuity plan testing schedule


  1. What Is a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)

  2. D&V Philippines

  3. Rencana Keberlangsungan Usaha (Business Continuity Plan)

  4. SMC's Business Continuity Plan- BCP

  5. Continuity Testing

  6. Active Assailant 101


  1. Maximizing Efficiency: Tips for Planning Your Garbage Collection Schedule

    Managing waste is an essential aspect of any community or business. To ensure a clean and healthy environment, it is crucial to have an effective garbage collection schedule in place.

  2. Efficiently Plan Meetings with a Free Doodle Meeting Scheduler

    In today’s fast-paced business world, scheduling meetings can be a time-consuming and frustrating task. Coordinating the availability of multiple participants, finding a suitable meeting time, and avoiding conflicts can be overwhelming.

  3. How to Schedule a Road Test

    It’s time for you or your child to schedule a road test to get a driver’s license. Scheduling a test depends on your age, location and whether or not you’re taking driving school. Most road tests are taken through your local department of m...

  4. How Often Should a Business Continuity Plan Be Reviewed?

    Establish a Schedule to Test Different Parts of the Business Continuity Plan · Checklist Test—Twice a Year · Emergency Drill—Once a Year · Tabletop

  5. Four Steps to Better Business Continuity Plan Testing

    Testing your business continuity plan (BCP) helps to ... Most organizations benefit greatly by having a testing schedule documenting their plans.

  6. Testing business continuity plans factsheet

    Business continuity testing ensures the department's business continuity plans (BCPs) remain current, fit-for-purpose and effective. Type 1: Walkthrough self-

  7. Business Continuity Testing Template

    Pre-test planning meeting(s) must be scheduled sufficiently in advance of the desired exercising date for the specific BC plan(s) of interest. The business

  8. What is BCP testing?

    Many businesses perform an annual plan review while others do it every six months. There are no hard and fast rules on the frequency of

  9. Comprehensive Guide to Business Continuity Testing

    What Is BCP Testing? Business continuity plan (BCP) testing is a method of looking into how prepared your employees are in an emergency. It

  10. Business Continuity Plan

    Testing the plan to ensure it is suitable for use, up to date, and still concentrates on the correct areas the business has set out in its Business Impact

  11. Business Continuity Plan Testing Checklist

    Create business continuity plan document outlining the plan. 7. Establish testing schedule for the continuity plan. 8. Approval: Testing schedule. 9. Identify

  12. Testing your business continuity plan

    Testing time may take anywhere from one day to two weeks. However, it can also take as little as three hours to determine the effectiveness of the plan by

  13. Business continuity plan maintenance: How to review, test and

    And whatever route ' or combination of approaches ' you choose, you should carry out business continuity plan testing at least once a year. How

  14. Business Continuity Plan Team

    Testing and Maintenance of Business Continuity Plans. The test schedule for business continuity plan(s) will indicate how and when each element of the plan