Can you imagine handing over a power generating station for a client or delivering a new passenger airliner, without thoroughly testing both of them? Yet when it comes to disaster recovery plans for their own operations, many organisations have yet to acquire the ‘testing reflex’. A quick review of good reasons to test may help put testing on the agenda – and maybe even in pole position.

Validation of the DR Plan Compared to Business Objectives

The excellence of a disaster recovery plan depends on its alignment with the strategic goals of an organisation. Criteria such as recovery time objectives can only be evaluated as relevant or appropriate if they directly relate to a benefit to the business.

Verification that the Plan has been Correctly Constructed

After business objectives and doing the right things, now we need to check that things are being done right. From the risk and business impact analysis, through the definition of DR procedures and to the allocation of resources, a test under realistic conditions is the way to see if the plan has been sufficiently well thought out.

Check on Organisational Readiness to Execute

Suppose you had a great plan and sound DR procedures – but nobody knew what they were supposed to do? Running a test shows you how well the plan has been communicated to those who need to act on it. Keep a notepad or smartphone with voice recorder handy to note down how well things go.

Compare Costs and Return on Investment

Some aspects are essential and non-negotiable, particularly those involving safety and security for users and beneficiaries of systems. However, if tests show that a lower-priced option still gives the required level of disaster recovery, then it makes sense to save money (without sacrificing performance).

Gain Additional Insights (SWOT)

Practical tests also have a way of opening people’s eyes to different strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that mere thought experiments do not. A real test helps you make real improvements and identify real possibilities to help the business further through better DR planning.