Essential guide to business continuity and disaster recovery plans
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There's good news and bad news when it comes to business continuity management system trends. The good news is...
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more organizations are recognizing the importance of protecting their businesses from unplanned events and are launching BC initiatives. The bad news is that we rarely see news stories about organizations that used a BC plan to recover operations after a disaster.
Here are some trends affecting the BC market.
Trend 1: Emerging standards
The ISO 22301:2012 standard has gained acceptance in many quarters and is often complemented by ISO 223XX standards such as:
- ISO 22313: Guidance for a business continuity management system
- ISO 22317: Business impact analysis guidelines
- ISO 22318: Supply chain continuity
- ISO 22398: Guidelines for exercises
- ISO 22399: Guidelines for incident preparedness
There are business continuity standards in other sectors as well:
- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority 4370: Banking and finance
- Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council BC Handbook: Banking and finance
- National Fire Protection Association 1600: Emergency management and business continuity
- National Institute of Standards and Technology SP 800-34: IT contingency planning
- American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) SPC.1-2009: Organizational resilience guidance
- ASIS SPC.4-2012: Organizational resilience management systems
You can expect additional standards in the coming years.
Trend 2: Technology advances
Automated BC planning systems have been around for decades and are still in widespread use. The emergence and rapid growth of disaster recovery as a service systems suggests similar products addressing the business continuity management system may not be far behind. Expect automation of BC and resiliency activities to increase in concert with the growth of cloud-based data and system recovery services.
Trend 3: Growth of educational services
BC and resiliency training programs are consistently popular within the profession, but it would be nice if those activities could be delivered outside of the business continuity and IT communities. This reflects the profession's tendency to operate within its boundaries instead of finding ways to introduce BC and resiliency training to a broader spectrum of technical and management professionals. The Business Continuity Institute, for example, has introduced its Training Academy for new players and established professionals. Education of the next generation of BC and resiliency specialists will be a key factor in the future of the profession.
Trend 4: Cybersecurity threats
While a business of any size can be the victim of a disruptive event, cybersecurity threats are perhaps the most pressing concern of business and government leaders. WikiLeaks' recent release of emails from within the Democratic National Committee -- regarding the handling of a presidential candidate -- demonstrates how pervasive cybersecurity threats are in today's world. Business continuity perfectly complements cybersecurity initiatives because BC plans must be in place to ensure an organization can resume operations when a threat occurs.
Trend 5: Need for background in more tech areas
IT disaster recovery will probably evolve into a largely push-button activity that may not necessarily require specific business skills. Conversely, future BC and resiliency professionals will likely need a blend of skills in business, security, compliance, and risk management and other disciplines.
Trend 6: Professional practices
The nature of the BC profession is that practitioners have traditionally devised their own approaches to preparing business continuity plans and performing complementary activities, such as exercises and training programs. That custom approach to a BC plan will likely continue over time. If customers are satisfied with the results, why change? If a universally acceptable framework for a business continuity management system does emerge, we may begin to see the gradual end of the pioneer spirit that characterized the first 40-plus years of the profession.
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