Business continuity plans require frequent testing 83 84 85 62 16; 88; 86. Smith said, “The
three golden rules for disaster planning success are (1) testing, (2)
testing, and (3) testing” 87. These experts’ advice is not limited to
continuity planning for technology, but was intended to apply to the wide
spectrum of continuity and disaster planning. The testing scenario may be
either a worst-case incident or an incident most likely to occur 62, 88). The most common
types of emergency testing comprise classroom exercises and functional
exercises 16 88. Classroom exercises are the most basic and least costly of the
two types of testing. Participants in classroom exercises walk through the
procedures without participating in any actual recovery operations. After
walking through the steps of the business continuity plan, participants should
test the plan via functional exercises. Functional exercises include
simulations and often involve interagency and vendor participation. A
functional exercise might include actual relocation to the alternate site and
system cutover 16; 88. Yet, a 2002 Ernst
& Young survey found that 21% of Organizations with a business continuity
plan reported having never tested their plans 7. 46  found a similar trend among US universities.. Many organizations purchase commercial toolkits or checklists
that are designed to help with business continuity plan maintenance 16. These commercial
toolkits were designed for use by businesses. However, schools can borrow from
the toolkits’ principles, and adapt the maintenance guidelines and checklists
to better suit school system needs and priorities. Finally, technology
contingency plans remain effective if the organization maintains them in a
ready state that reflects up-to-date system requirements, procedures,
organizational structure, and policies 88. Systems undergo
frequent changes because of technology upgrades, shifting business needs, or
new organizational policies. Therefore, a business continuity plan that is not
frequently tested and updated is in danger of becoming obsolete 62.