Only an objective review can confirm that your BCM programme is covering all the bases—and that it will actually work.
By Wayde Anderson, Client Service Executive, ContinuitySA
Organisations of all sizes are increasingly aware that they have to have business continuity plans in place—indeed, the need to govern risk is now a board responsibility. But all too often, the BCM programme is simply added onto the job description of a likely looking manager or executive, creating problems of focus and capacity, as well as a potential lack of access to specialist BCM knowledge and experience.
These BCM programme managers put a lot of time and effort into creating their business continuity plans and programmes, but what they lack is an informed review of what they have produced. It’s fair to say that, like any mission-critical discipline, BCM presents many pitfalls to the unwary, especially when one lacks experience or training to fall back on. It makes sense to have the BCM programme reviewed by an expert as a first step to improvement.
Over the course of many years, I have seen the benefits that companies have obtained from such a review, which would compare the BCM programme against best practice guidelines, such as the Business Continuity Institute’s Good Practice Guidelines (GPG) which also aligns to ISO 22301.
Such a review highlights the gaps in the methodology used by the existing plan; using a framework such as the GPG is very useful because it is the fruit of many years of experience and thoughts by the members of the Institute, a living repository of their collective wisdom. These guidelines are updated from time to time, so they are also cumulative.
Reviews frequently highlight a common but serious problem: many BCM programmes confuse emergency response and IT disaster recovery with business continuity. Both are equally important, but they lack the business element that BCM includes. It’s no use getting the IT systems up in record time if the business processes that must use them are not recovered as well.
Next time, I will look at what happens once the review is concluded.
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