Guide to Crisis Exercises and Testing: Understanding ISO 22398

Best Practice Guide

The importance of exercises and testing for ensuring business resilience

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that you can’t just plan for crises; you have to test plans consistently, under conditions that approximate the real-world crisis scenario. The failure to exercise and test resilience plans regularly is often given as a reason for the breakdown of business resilience processes during critical events.

The issue predates the pandemic. In the 2018 Deloitte study, Stronger, fitter, better: Crisis management for the resilient enterprise, 90 per cent of organisations reported confidence in their crisis management capabilities. Only 17 per cent of those organisations, however, had performed simulation exercises.

Despite the central role of communications in crisis management, companies didn’t fare much better when it came to crisis communications. A 2016 Nasdaq public relations services study found that a majority of corporate communicators said that their company either lacked a crisis communications playbook (48 per cent) or were unsure of whether they had one (12 per cent).

When looking at the best-practice measures organisations failed to take to prepare themselves for crisis, the picture only got worse. Sixty per cent of organisations did not role play or were unsure if they did. Fewer than half (48 per cent) were actively using a media monitoring platform. Only 24 per cent of company CEOs and other spokespeople were receiving annual media training.

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