Introduced in 2012, ISO 22301 has now become the de-facto benchmark for business continuity management (BCM) systems. This international standard certification protocol was designed to accommodate businesses of all sizes and from all verticals. Being globally recognized, ISO 22301 provides the necessary ecosystem for organizations to respond to disasters and maintain BCM for operational continuity.
What Is Business Continuity Management (BCM)?
Business continuity management is the process through which an organization empowers itself with the ability to continue delivery of its products or services in the event of a disaster. It entails the formulation and execution of plans, strategies, and actions to mitigate the effects of a disruptive event. The lack of a robust and effective business continuity management plan can lead to catastrophic losses, both financial and asset-wise. Implementation of a successful BCM depends upon the integration of four main BCM disciplines, namely:
- Emergency Response
- Crisis Management
- Disaster Recovery
- Business Continuity
BCM is integral to the survivability of an enterprise during and after a disaster, which can be in the form of:
- Damaged infrastructure: Electrical fire, long-drawn power cuts.
- Cyberattacks: Phishing, DDoS, Ransomware, or any other attack vectors.
- Natural disasters: Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, etc.
- Sabotage: Theft of files or deliberate sabotage of equipment.
- Pandemics and Epidemics: COVID-19, SARS, etc.
A well-planned and executed business continuity management system ensures that an organization is able to continue operations, even at minimum levels, in the event of a disaster.
Importance of Business Continuity Management
Business continuity management not only ensures the operational survivability of an enterprise but also brings a host of benefits that can help the organization to boost its standing in the industry.
- Saving lives: A well-implemented business continuity management system not only keeps an organization standing on its feet but also enables it to safeguard the well-being of its employees. Certain steps taken such as fire drills, emergency drills, and evacuation plans can save a lot of lives in the event of a disaster.
- Compliance with industry standards: BCM enables an organization to be compliant with industry regulations, even if it’s not required to. The presence of a BCM and the consequent compliance certifications also boost the faith of the stakeholders as the organization is seen as a responsible one.
- Increase in brand reputation: An organization lacking a BCM model is seen as either irresponsible or outright incompetent. The presence of business continuity management signals to the world that the enterprise takes its business seriously, thus boosting brand reputation. In case of a mishap, the BCM ensures smooth functioning even at a micro-level, thus preserving brand value.
- Reduce financial risks: A 360-degree business continuity management system cushions the financial impact incurred during a disaster and even in the aftermath of one. With the right backups and resilient protocols in place, an organization can mitigate losses and secure its invaluable data for faster recovery.
- Competitive edge: Many organizations do not invest time and money in creating a good BCM system. This lack of foresight can easily be taken advantage of by a competitor who has a robust BCM plan in place. In case of a disaster, the former stands to lose everything, while the latter is most likely to bounce back from the aftermath and continue its operations, thus gaining a significant edge.
Difference Between BCMS and BCP
While business continuity management can be seen as an umbrella system to mitigate disaster-related losses and ensure operation continuity, yet there are two elements of it that need to be understood.
BCMS: Short for Business Continuity Management System, it essentially provides the organizations with a roadmap of how to formulate policies, procedures, and protocols for business continuity. BCMS helps an enterprise to create a management framework, thus empowering it to manage disruptions and recovery from a disaster in a timely and efficient manner.
BCP: Also referred to as Business Continuity Planning, BCP is the part of BCM where an organization creates and implements clearly defined steps and protocols to be executed in the event of a disaster. The business continuity planning phase is based on a set of specific procedures, which include:
- Project management
- Risk analysis & review
- Business impact analysis
- Recovery strategy
- Plan development
- Testing & exercising
- Program management
No matter the size or the domain of a business, a well-devised business continuity management system is vital for its success and survivability. Considering the ever-rising threats of cyberattacks and the growing pace of natural and man-made disasters, it’s pertinent for every organization to take BCM very seriously and implement robust business continuity plans at the earliest possible date.
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