5.8 Business continuity management testing and improvement (BCM Validation)

Business Continuity Management Validation aims to ensure that relevant business continuity solutions and responses reflect the size, complexity, and type of port organization and that the plans are current, accurate, effective, and complete.

The danger for any BCM system is that BIAs and BCPs can be stored away and not subjected to any later testing or updated. Another concern is that the relevant port workforce, especially newly recruited staff, lacks the necessary training relating to BCM. When a port only uses its BCP when an incident occurs, gauging the effectiveness of this plan becomes difficult. Therefore, with BCPs being an important component of a port’s BCM, the system needs to be tested before an event occurs. It also needs to be updated as deemed necessary.

A port’s BCPs should be regularly tested, at least annually, with varying options for testing, including the following:

  • Exercises and drills involving reviewing documented procedures with those responsible for executing the BCP and checking for overall plan viability.
  • Tabletop exercises and drills discussing roles during an emergency and responses to a particular emergency case.
  • Physically testing of the BCP, such as relocating services or equipment to alternative sites at the port or elsewhere. While the most comprehensive approach, this exercise can be costly and time-consuming.

Additional information about BCM validation is available HERE.