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Challenge Testing - Be Prepared For The Unexpected!

In an uncertain world, there are many threats to our businesses. How would your company survive a major business interruption, such as an accident, fire, flood, or a serious hygiene, health or safety concern – all of which could adversely affect the integrity and future success of your organisation?

We must all be prepared for the unexpected and having a viable business continuity plan is crucial for managing your company effectively following the impact of a crisis.

Key steps in developing a reliable strategy include analysing your business; assessing the risks; developing a strategy; and devising and rehearsing your plan. As part of this process, you can also incorporate ‘challenge testing’ which is particularly helpful in training your staff on how to cope in an emergency.

It is important to consider ‘challenge testing’ as part of your emergency and crisis management arrangements or Business Continuity Plan.

Imagine if your company encountered a potentially catastrophic incident such as a fire, an outbreak of food poisoning or a serious accident. Now consider these questions:

  • Are you clear who would lead the business through such a scenario?
  • Do you have access to competent expert advice at short notice across a wide range of both disciplines, including food safety, health and safety, PR and legal?
  • Is there a clearly defined protocol or checklist that everyone has access to that can be quickly and clearly followed to ensure the impact on your company is minimised?

These are crucial subjects which you must address to ensure that your company can survive the impact of a disaster.

In today’s world, there are many threats to business continuity including cyber-attacks, data breaches, security incidents, terrorism, supply chain disruption, health and safety concerns, unplanned IT outages, legal issues and new regulations. It is therefore imperative that businesses and managers adopt swift and dynamic responses to these diverse threats.

Effective business continuity planning and crisis management must therefore be put into place. However, for these to be successful, you must test them.

Challenge or disaster recovery testing and crisis management means putting the plan into practice. This allows managers and employees to firmly establish their duties in an emergency. Tabletop exercises and simulation tests can also ascertain the strengths and weaknesses of your business continuity plan and allow you to rectify systems and procedures.  The primary aim of ‘challenge testing’ is to identify and correct problems and ultimately safeguard the future success of your business before disaster strikes!