VII.G.1     Full-Scale Exercise

Full-scale exercises (sometimes called a full interruption or comprehensive exercise) help management validate internal and external interdependencies between critical business functions, information systems, and networks (e.g., for critical functions, exercises should include transaction processing and functional testing). Integrated exercises move beyond comprehensive exercises to include testing with internal and external parties and the supporting systems, processes, and resources. Management should periodically reassess and update exercise and test plans to reflect changes in the business and operating environment.

A full-scale exercise simulates full use of available resources (personnel and systems) prompting a full recovery of business processes. The goal of a full-scale exercise is to determine whether all critical systems can be recovered at the alternate processing site and whether personnel can implement the procedures defined in the BCP. For example, a full-recovery exercise might simulate the complete loss of primary facilities. Features of a full-scale exercise may include the following:

  • Engaging personnel from all business units to participate and interact with internal and external management response teams.
  • Validating the crisis or emergency management process is operating as designed.
  • Verifying personnel knowledge and skills.
  • Validating management response and decision-making capability.
  • Coordinating participants and decision makers.
  • Validating communication protocols.
  • Conducting activities at alternate locations or facilities.
  • Processing data using backup media or alternative methods.
  • Completing actual transactional volumes or an illustrative subset.
  • Performing recovery exercises over a sufficient length of time to allow issues to unfold as they would in a crisis.


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VII.G Exercise and Test Methods
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VII.G.2 Limited-Scale Exercise