ISO 22301 Works When Counting on Business Continuity

In an ideal world, organizations would comprehensively plan for, preemptively pinpoint and readily counter every threat, uncertainty, and risk. As idyllic as that may sound, it is not realistic. In the real world, threats and serious business disruptions—whether from natural disasters, pandemics, terrorism, cyberattacks and more—are on the rise. Fortunately, organizations are becoming more adept at planning for and mitigating disruptions and becoming more resilient along the way through Business Continuity Management System (BCMS) discipline.

A BCMS sets up the infrastructure, processes and methods for an organization’s operations to be sustained and/or recover from disasters and disruptions. A standard-based, proven BCMS approach, to ensure recovery and resiliency, is ISO 22301:2019, already in use by organizations of all sizes, and all industries. In addition to internal operations BCMS benefits, organizations can obtain accredited certification against the standard, to show existing and prospective customers, government agencies, regulators, and others that they adhere to good BCM practices.

ISO 22301 Business Continuity Benefits

Organizations realize four primary business benefits, among others, by using what was developed and published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and is officially known as ISO 22301:2019 Security and Resilience–Business Continuity Management Systems – Requirements.

  • Legal and regulatory compliance: More countries have defined laws and regulations requiring business continuity compliance. In addition, businesses increasingly require suppliers and partners implement business continuity solutions. ISO 22301:2019 is well-suited to support compliance with most requirements, reducing administrative and operational effort, as well as potential penalties.
  • Marketing and reputational advantage: Organizations with a viable business continuity plan outdistance competitors with customers concerned about operational continuity, and products and service delivery. An ISO 22301-certification can help bring in new customers.
  • Shared responsibilities and collaborative response: Organization that use a standards-based approach and make use of business continuity practices become far less dependent on what are sometimes a few individuals tasked with mission-critical business operations. ISO 22301 helps reduce overall risk and creates contingencies and backup functionality within an organization.
  • Damage prevention and mitigation:With real-time services and transactions, every minute of downtime costs money. By implementing business continuity practices compliant with ISO 22301, downtime can be reduced, either by preventing disruptive incidents or faster recovery.

BCMS Key Elements

A BCMS clearly defines the scope of the management system so an organization has a clear understanding of the activities to perform, the existing infrastructure that supports or enables those activities and the policies and procedures for an effective and cost-efficient recovery in the event of a business interruption.  BCMS recovery requirements include identifying and prioritizing all activities and their associated resources.  Organizations certified to the BCMS standard have and use guidance to continue providing client services within acceptable timeframes.

A viable recovery plan includes:

  • Knowing all critical and dependent functions and how quickly or slowly they must be recovered before the loss of any given function becomes unacceptable.
  • Knowing all resources required to restore each function; resources include personnel, vendor resources, supply chain constraints, IT systems, and data interdependencies.
  • Knowing recovery strategies for various scenarios to use to reduce downtime, and customer interruption.
  • Knowing all interested internal and external parties (Customer, vendor, employees, regulatory officials) and having appropriate communication channels established.
  • Proof to clients of a planned, documented, tested approach to provide essential services.

ISO 22301 Expertise Achieves the End Game: Business Continuity and Success

To work well, ISO 22301 will need organizations to thoroughly understand, implement and continually review requirements and performance. Rather than being simply about a project or developing “a plan,” BCM is an ongoing management process requiring competent people working with appropriate support and structures that will perform when needed—and regularly practice and test to avoid disruption and damage. The Alchemi Advisory Group can lead or supplement teams on a standards based BCMS journey, assess progress and support successful certification recognition. By applying expertise and audit experience, and third-party objectivity, organizations and their customers gain the assurance of a well-developed and ready-to-deploy BCMS.

DOCUMENTS & DATA

A complete Business Continuity Management System (BCMS) requires the following documentation to be certified as ISO 22301:2019-compliant.

  • BCMS scope
  • Business Continuity Policy
  • Business Continuity Objectives
  • Evidence of personnel competences
  • Procedure for communication with interested parties
  • Records of communication with interested parties
  • Records of disruption details, actions taken, and decisions made
  • Incident response structure and Business Continuity Plans
  • Recovery Procedures
  • Results of monitoring and measurement
  • Results of internal audit
  • Results of management review
  • Results of corrective actions
  • List of applicable legal, regulatory and other requirements

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