London software testing news UK

Network emulation for business continuity testing

Posted in Acceptance testing by testing in London on January 25, 2008

From Continuity Central

This article addresses a critical element of the business continuity life-cycle: testing and rehearsing the plan. When it comes to technological aspects of business continuity, IT departments are faced with the need to perform rigorous and realistic testing of business continuity procedures and capabilities for network and application systems.

A network business continuity test plan includes testing fail-over and recovery strategies on the production network with production systems, personnel and procedures. However, this step is a small component of the overall business continuity test plan. The bulk of system testing is done in the lab to avoid needless disruption of the corporate network and the attendant loss of productivity. This article identifies the steps for network business continuity system testing in the lab environment; such testing authentically replicates the load, delays, bandwidth contention, errors and other impairments found in the production and backup networks, providing an accurate prediction for how the plan will work under actual disaster conditions.

BCM system testing: business requirements

When IT departments begin examining network business continuity plans, the discussion can get sidetracked on how to overcome technical issues and limitations. It is important to realize that business requirements drive technical requirements. As the NISCC Good Practice Guide on Telecommunications Resilience points out, a business impact analysis (BIA) focuses on services, not technology.

RTOs might vary based on monthly, annual or seasonal business cycles. An automated process might have a manual fallback system as an alternative for short-term recovery. Government regulations may mandate RTOs for some systems or processes. The network business continuity test plan emphasizes the purpose for the process by correlating test results back to the business requirements.

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