Business ContinuitySome companies—perhaps even the majority of them—still see implementing business continuity management (BCM) as something they need to get done. The typical tick-box approach to compliance, you might say.

Such an approach is always a mistake because it means the company simply incurs extra expense and trouble for no real benefit. It’s a common attitude towards governance codes like King III, for example—and companies with that attitude are the ones that always complain that it’s just an added “cost of doing business”. In fact, good governance can mean good business, as international research (and experience) shows.

The same is true of BCM. Approached in the right spirit, it can deliver much more than the ability to survive a disaster—it can create a stronger, more resilient company all round.

Growing awareness that the process of assessing risk and putting contingency plans in place to mitigate it can generate wider benefits are evident in the way that old-style IT disaster recovery has mutated into something much more. In fact, the 2012 ISO22301 standard for BCM places it within the context of “societal security”, thus placing the discipline clearly within the broader drive towards corporate sustainability.

Sustainability has become such a buzzword in the past several years because it’s become so clear that companies’ success is due not only to their own efforts but those of a broader community of stakeholders, including employees, business partners and so on. The flipside is that a company’s failure affects not only its shareholders but its staff, their families, the staff and families of business partners and a much broader community of people and companies who depend on them.

In other words, “No man [or woman] is an island, complete of himself.” A company that realises this also starts to look at the risks it faces in a similar way. It no longer sees risks as internal only, but also external. Putting risk-mitigation strategies in place for this broad portfolio of risk has far-reaching consequences for its overall sustainability.

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