A couple of times per year, Prometric conducts various business continuity exercises as a way for us to test the effectiveness of our internal disaster recovery and business continuity plans in the case that there were ever a “disaster” – manmade or otherwise. Testing our plans, procedures and technology allows us to be fully prepared to support your business and keep your test program running in the event that we are not able to access our headquarters building for an extended period of time for any reason.
Most recently, Prometric’s Business Continuity Team conducted a Disaster Recovery Exercise during September that aimed to validate the plans surrounding our IT testing network and our ability to recover operations specific to our IT exam testing network. The exercise included members of our Systems Recovery Team, Analysis & Resolution and Test Quality Management teams with support from our Software Development team. This exercise also included an emergency workspace exercise during the latter half of the week to validate the plans, procedures, and ability of teams to make our “back-up” employee workspace available for emergency operations. The workspace exercise involved members of the Telecommunications and System Support teams who established the site as well as team members from Candidate Care, Global Help Desk, Program Management, Global Command Center and Results Management, who verified application functionality and site viability. All of these teams support your business with Prometric in some way.
The purpose of the exercise was to validate the plans, procedures, and ability of selected teams to execute their respective business continuity plans and disaster recovery plans to address an unscheduled, extended loss of access to the Prometric facilities located in Baltimore MD by recovering a representative set of business systems and subsystems.
Prometric contracted with Eagle Rock Alliance, a third-party evaluation team, who observed and reviewed the exercise on several perspectives:
- Infrastructure enablement and application recovery
- QC application testing
- Workspace set-up
- End-user testing
According to Eagle Rock Alliance, “The overall goal of the exercise was accomplished and provided significant value in validating that the APTC channel is recoverable, enhancing the maturity of the plans and extending Prometric’s overall recovery capability.” The following is a list of Eagle Rock Alliance’s comments taken directly from the observation report. Our primary and secondary objectives, listed below, were rated as “successful” across the board.
- Validate team ability to execute plans.
- Verify completeness of disaster recovery plans and synchronization of team tasks.
- Verify ability of disaster recovery team to recover identified systems to meet recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives.
- Verify ability of the Systems Support team to configure and ready the employee workspace to communicate with recovered systems from the brick and mortar workspace in another location.
- Validate ability of employees to interoperate with systems from a recovered environment as follows: Emergency workspace connections to disaster recovery data center facility.
- Verify effectiveness of Incident Management Team & Team status reporting methodologies
- Verify communications mediums are available and ready for use in a timely manner
- Familiarize teams with emergency workspace location and operations.
As we expect when we conduct exercises of this nature, there were several lessons learned that will be addressed as well and which will even better prepare our business to support you in the case of an unexpected disaster of any kind.