VI     Training

Action Summary


Management should implement a business continuity training program for all stakeholders.


Examiners should review for the following:


  • Objectives of business continuity training.
  • Alignment of business continuity training with strategies.
  • Extent of targeted business continuity training provided to stakeholders, such as personnel, business continuity program staff, and the board.
  • Format of the business continuity training program.
  • Process for reviewing and updating the business continuity training program.

Management should include training as part of an effective business continuity program to educate stakeholders on resilience, business continuity goals, corporate-wide objectives, policies, and individual personnel roles and responsibilities. The board or senior management delegates a committee or individual to oversee the training program; however, the board should be responsible for the training program’s effectiveness. Refer to the IT Handbook’s “Management” booklet for additional information.

The training program should align with the entity’s strategy and use a comprehensive, risk-based, multi-year approach, including interrelated programs (e.g., disaster recovery and third-party risk management). The frequency of exercises should depend on the size and complexity of the entity and the elements of the training program, risks, and testing program iteration, with all elements covered in a timely manner. Management should take inventory of the current skill sets for business continuity and identify and address any gaps. When appropriate, management should establish goals and objectives for supporting the entity’s business continuity program as part of the performance management process. Some elements of the training program may include:

  • Exercises.
  • Current risks.
  • Future risks.
  • Recent failures.
  • New programs/technologies.
  • Organizational changes.
  • Previous (exercise) lessons learned.

Training generally involves a conceptual understanding of business continuity, including testing methods, test results, and critical business functions. The training program should include conditions for activating the BCP and what to do when key personnel are unavailable. Training should selectively and purposely seek to validate plans and assumptions by testing the interactions of people, processes, and technology risks and vulnerabilities in a consequence-free exercise environment.

Training should be tailored to the target audience, addressing the needs of specific groups. Training participants should include the board, senior management, business process owners, and frontline personnel. For example, training for personnel who manage the business continuity program should be different than training for personnel not directly involved in recovery operations. Training should include significant business continuity concepts, interdependencies, disruption impacts, and operational resilience. When applicable, contractors involved with the business continuity program should also receive appropriate training.

The board should understand the business continuity program, testing initiatives, and key business continuity-related reports. Board training should occur regularly, or more frequently, based on significant changes to business processes, risks, BIA results, or lessons learned from incidents that have impacted the entity. Training methods may involve instructional classes, computer-based training, hands-on experience, lessons learned, and collaborating with other organizations. Role-based training includes cross-training personnel to compensate for significant absenteeism or operational disruptions, which may occur during an event. Training should reflect changes to the business continuity program as they occur.


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