Without regular Exercise, your Business Continuity Plan may be lifeless, flabby, out of date and of little real value, as we know from experience.

How much exercising is enough? For a Business Continuity Plan, the Coach says twice a year at least.

To supplement Exercising we also recommend you use your Business Continuity Plan as a daily tool for incidents immediately they arise, small or large.

The exercising of a Business Continuity Plan is what separates successful crisis management and continuity of business from possible disastrous failure.

Developing good business continuity planning habits takes time and discipline, but it is essential for effective Business Continuity Management.

Exercising your Business Continuity Plans is one of the best business investments that YOUR ORGANISATION will ever make. Insuring for loss arising out of business interruption is another.

How individuals will react under stressful and dangerous situations is difficult to determine. The military realises this, so they train their soldiers in difficult situations so that they will know what it feels like before they have to make life or death decisions under fire.

Business continuity is no different. In order to know how a particular team or individual will react under adverse situations can only come from proper planning and exercising of those plans. The business continuity profession has known this for some time.

However, based on numerous surveys taken before and after 9/11, business continuity plans do exist for most organisations but they have never been exercised. A wide preponderance of organisations has indicated that they have NEVER exercised their Business Continuity Plans. Exercising of a Business Continuity Plan is what separates successful recovery from failed attempts.

Unlike planning, which defines what you do, exercising relates to actually doing it. Regular exercising helps to build habits and establishes learned behaviours.

An organisation, through exercising, can develop these learned behaviours if they do not have them already. The bad news is that developing them is never easy. It takes time and a desire for perfection. It often involves the painful process of thinking and re-thinking incident scenarios and developing new mitigation strategies until the Business Continuity Plan is running like well-oiled machines.

Find out more information in part 2

This information is brought to you by CIA Insurance in conjunction with the LMI Group.