Gartner Research

Toolkit: Assessing the Effectiveness of Recovery Plans Following a Business Disruption

Published: 02 August 2018


A critical evaluation of recovery plans is essential to effectively ensuring continuity of operations. This user-customizable Toolkit offers enterprises an easy way to assess the effectiveness of their plans following a business disruption.

When to Use

Gartner Research confirms that businesses are at risk of disruption from a variety of threats. These range from natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes and severe weather events) to cybercrime and terrorism.

Enterprises worldwide increasingly recognize the importance of effective, cross-functional recovery plans, to ensure operational resiliency and continuity of operations during and after a disruption.

Where these plans have been used to support the response to a disruptive event, they should be assessed to ensure that they're effective, have been executed properly and are appropriate for enterprise needs.

To support this, Gartner have developed a simple, user-customizable Toolkit to enable enterprises of all types to evaluate their plans and their enterprises' execution of those plans.

Business continuity managers, IT disaster recovery planners, crisis managers, and other IT and business professionals can use the attached Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to consider their response to a business disruption. This may include natural disasters, as well as operating failures and crises of other types. The questions address the overall response to the crisis and specific impacts on business processes, the workforce and external parties, such as customers and business partners.

Downloadable Attachments


This spreadsheet provides a checklist of critical factors to evaluate an enterprise's response to a crisis, execution of its recovery plans and the effectiveness of those plans. Adjust it according to your business continuity management (BCM) program scope and event-specific needs.

Directions for Use

This Toolkit provides a measure of how an organization's resilience planning supported the response to a disruption. It's broken down into the following sections:

  • Overall Assessment of the Response and Supporting Plans

  • Crisis Management Procedures

  • Facilities Management Assessment

  • Workforce Assessment

  • Business Process Assessment

  • IT Disaster Recovery Assessment

  • Supplier/Vendor Assessment

  • Customer Interaction Assessment

  • Government NGO Assessment

  • Insurance Processing Assessment

  • Personal Assessment

Ideally, one person should oversee the completion of the questionnaire, with support from representatives from each relevant section who were involved in the response. Not all sections and/or questions may be relevant.

Any gaps in the response that are identified following completion of the questionnaire should be used to inform an action plan for future planning improvement.

Those filling out the questionnaire should complete the relevant sections stating:

  • Current Status of the Activity: This relates to the response activity in question. It looks to establish whether it's an ongoing element of the response part of the planning structure and/or whether it would be appropriate to include it in future planning.

  • Worked —Completed as Described: Congratulations if you have been able to tick this box. It means that the procedures put in place worked as intended.

  • Worked — But Needs Improvement: It is likely that this box will be ticked in a number of instances. It is not unusual to find that plans and procedures would need improvement following exposure to a disruption.

  • Not Included in the Plan/Not Applicable: This box would be ticked if the related question is not relevant to your current planning requirements

  • Description of the Gap: This is the opportunity to note the areas where the procedures did not meet expectations. This should be completed in the spirit of "constructive criticism," together with any suggested recommendations for future improvement

  • Responsibility for Closing the Gap: Note the name and position for dealing with the learning points. This person will be responsible for the development of an action plan to improve the current planning arrangement

  • Date for Gap Closure: A target date for completion of the improvement actions should be entered. It will be the responsibility of the person responsible for the improvement to ensure that these are completed before this deadline.

There is also a comments section on each page.

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Unless otherwise marked for external use, the items in this Gartner Toolkit are for internal noncommercial use by the licensed Gartner client. The materials contained in this Toolkit may not be repackaged or resold. Gartner makes no representations or warranties as to the suitability of this Toolkit for any particular purpose, and disclaims all liabilities for any damages, whether direct, consequential, incidental or special, arising out of the use of or inability to use this material or the information provided herein.

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