Physical testing is intended to verify the accuracy and completeness of the detailed technical recovery procedures. Any deficiencies will be recorded and subsequent corrections implemented. Testing of systems and applications ensures that personnel are not only familiar with the plan procedures and are in agreement that the steps are accurate, they are assured that the procedures actually work on the target recovery equipment. Every procedure in the plan is tested thoroughly and only included in the master plan after physical confirmation of technical accuracy.
Physical system and application tests ensure that entire data flows, not just single applications, are completely recoverable. In testing an entire data flow, we are testing every application that a single business process utilizes, making sure that every piece of that data stream will function in a ‘disaster mode’. Following recovery, an entire set of test transactions is fed into those applications with known entry and exit states. In this way, application teams can be absolutely positive that data is being transformed in the predicted way and that the entire recovery effort is not only successful, but repeatable.
Physical system and application testing also involves user groups as much as possible during all phases of the recovery. Rather than recovering simply the IT components, full system and application testing involves user requirements as well. It is not sufficient to assume that simply because the servers are recovered that users and processes are functional. By testing the connectivity of users from multiple locations to recovered hardware and data, the ability of users to initiate transactions and access data and the communication of progress to users becomes an integral part of the entire testing process.