The Business Guide to
by John Sharp
For the past two years the insurance and business continuity industries in the UK have been working together in order to create a much wider awareness about the need for, and importance of, Business Continuity Management (BCM) amongst UK organisations. The outcome is the Business Guide to Continuity Management.
Brought together by Safetynet and working with the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) and the Loss Prevention Council (LPC, now part of the BRE) the Business Guide to Continuity Management has been developed by the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers (AIRMIC), BAE SYSTEMS plc, Loss Prevention Council (LPC), Business Continuity Institute (BCI), Computer and Software Services Association (CSSA), The Disaster Management Forum, FM Global, Marsh, Royal & SunAlliance and Safetynet (now part of Guardian IT plc). The Business Guide to Continuity Management is supported by the British Bankers Associations (BBA), British Disaster Management Association, the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Central Computing and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), Chartered Institute of Insurers (CII), Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), National Computer Centre (NCC), Survive, Zurich Insurance.
The Business Guideline to Continuity Management, which incorporates a means of evaluating and auditing BCM arrangements, does not seek to recreate or enter into competition with existing material. Rather it harmonises collective wisdom, providing a consistent starting point for any organisation seeking to find out about, or implement BCM. The objectives of the guide are to ensure board level awareness and acceptance of the BCM process in order to drive it throughout the organisation, to produce a uniform guideline, providing initial guidance on how to implement BCM within the organisation and an audit tool to enable organisations to evaluate their level of business continuity preparedness.
The Business Guide to Continuity Management consists of three separate, but related, documents.
- Business Continuity Management: A Strategy for Business Survival
This four page leaflet has been developed with the chief executive, board member or senior manager in mind, in a bid to elevate responsibility for business continuity from the tactical to the strategic level. Whilst some more enlightened organisations have already taken this approach, there are still too many that regard business continuity as the responsibility of the risk, business continuity, or IT manager. Getting business continuity to be part of the business culture becomes difficult - perhaps even impossible - without a board level sponsor. To this end, 'Business Continuity Management: A Strategy for Business Survival' builds a business case for the process and provides direction to the next stage in the process. The leaflet carries the following endorsement by Nigel Turnbull, Chairman Of The ICAEW Committee On The Guidance For Directors On Internal Controls: "The Turnbull Committee Guidance for Directors on Internal Controls sets out overall framework of best practice for business, based upon an assessment and control of their significant risks. For many companies, Business Continuity Management will address some of these key risks and help them to achieve compliance."
- The Business Guide to Continuity Management
The uniform guideline provides an initial point of reference for any organisation looking to implement a business continuity culture. Under the headings:
- Getting started
- Understanding your business
- Continuity strategies
- Developing the response
- Establishing the continuity culture
- Plan exercising, maintenance and auditing
The guideline uses the Business Continuity Institute's (BCI) ten units of competence as a basis for the advice and action points included in the document. To ensure it is useable as well as useful, the guideline has brevity on its side but its appendices reference other sources of information and help, and includes a glossary of terms and useful web addresses. It seeks to harmonise available expertise and best practice guidance for Business Continuity Management, whilst not detracting from additional material on the subject.
- Evaluation Criteria for Business Continuity Plans
Organisations change on a daily basis - people move or their roles change; technology never stands still; business objectives alter; offices open, relocate or shut down; and so the list continues. The pace of change can be so fast that for some companies a plan or strategy written as little as three months ago could be out of touch with today's recovery requirements. A business continuity plan becomes little more that a very expensive ornament or doorstop if it is not kept up to date. The need for plan maintenance and rehearsals are essential if it is to remain a viable means of recovering the organisation.
The Evaluation Criteria for Business Continuity Plans provides a benchmark for organisations to assess their level BCM based upon the BCI's ten units of competence.
With the three key deliverables in place, the Business Guide to Continuity Management is being launched in September 2000. It is a web-driven initiative, to enable organisations interested in its guidance access to all three components. The BBA, DTI, CII, LPC/BRE and the NCC are some of the principle supporters of the Guide and many industry associations and institutes have indicated their willingness promote the Guide and to link directly to the BCI web site which hosting the information.
Copies of "The Business Continuity Management: A Strategy for Business Survival", can be obtained from The Business Continuity Institute (BCI) by calling +44 (0)870 603 8783 or emailing to TheBCI(at)btinternet.com. Alternatively the leaflet may be downloaded from the BCI website www.thebci.org. The Business Guide to Continuity Management and the Evaluation Criteria for Business Continuity Plans can only be obtained from the BCI website.
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