Business continuity training and awareness

Business continuity training and awareness are often used interchangeably but actually represent different levels of involvement as they relate to business continuity.

Awareness pertains to having knowledge of or being cognizant of business continuity planning (BCP) activities. It does not necessarily require knowledge of how to execute a business continuity plan.

Training pertains to the actual instruction, providing for proficiency in executing business continuity activities. This instruction may be provided through classroom, computer-based, test-based and/or instructional guides and templates.

Plan testing and implementation activities are an inherent part of training. While training should involve the actual execution of business continuity testing activities necessary to evaluate the effectiveness or capabilities of the plan and/or a specific plan objective, awareness may be provided through workshops, instruction manuals, e-mail communication or other ad-hoc communication methods.

Awareness is an inherent part of training; however, training is not necessarily part of awareness.

BCP training approaches:

The best approach to business continuity training is to review the documented roles and responsibilities to ensure what is documented meets business requirements. In many cases, especially in less mature programs, roles and responsibilities are rather boilerplate and may not fit the organizational structure or needs.

After ensuring the roles and responsibilities, as well as the assignments are correct, it is possible to perform a mini gap analysis to determine training content.

Content can be delivered in any number of ways, but the most important thing in larger organizations (i.e., those with more than one site) is that the same training is delivered everywhere.

In an actual event, senior management needs to know that local decisions will be made consistently and that each person listed knows the company’s preferred course of action. Various companies have used e-learning, seminars, working groupsor webcasts to deliver their training.

For most organizations, some level of custom training is necessary. Not only do business continuity programs differ greatly from company to company, but the overall objectives will differ.

In one company’s culture, restoring operations could be seen as the most critical area of importance because it protects employees’ livelihoods and the interests of customers and shareholders. In another firm, appearing sensitive to the workforce may trump production, even if it brings adverse consequences to the organization.

Many larger clients have found a matrix training system to be a very effective complement to facility-based training. In these approaches, crisis management, business resumption and IT disaster recovery personnel at each site are trained together, in addition to training augmentation with their peers across the enterprise.

This approach improves standardization and dissemination of best practices without compromising the specificity required in plans covering a particular call center, manufacturing plant or other facility.

Other related topics on business continuity training:

  • Business continuity certification options

  • Business continuity education options

    Effective business continuity training is important before executing the business continuity management plans.

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