Please don’t be alarmed by the increasing wave of articles, discussions and publicity around the launch of the latest ISO Standard 22301 on Business Continuity. Take a step back and think about it for a minute.

A standard in this context is basically a written down version of good practices that have been established, proven and agreed as appropriate, usually over a period of several years.  A standard also provides you, your auditors and regulators something solid against which to benchmark current levels of competence for a particular discipline.

So my first point is that if you have already got Business Continuity, Crisis Management or Disaster Recovery procedures in place for your organisation, they are not suddenly redundant or ineffective simply because a new standard has been published. They will still work as well today as they would have done yesterday.

On closer analysis of the different Business Continuity standards you will find that the good practices and principles they promote are not actually so different. The development of a new standard is simply a natural evolution of those good practices across expanding audiences. Aerodynamic cars have all evolved to a similar, optimum shape because it’s proven to work – the only reason manufacturers make them different is so that they can sell them.

Now, I am not saying you should ignore any new standards, you just need to be careful about the hype. Whether accreditation to the standard is of commercial or competitive advantage to your organisation or not, it is of course prudent to be aware of the new standard and any changes it brings. If your organisation falls into the category where accreditation is necessary or appropriate then of course you will need to familiarise yourself with the accreditation process and body involved.

Beware of any consultants who approach you recommending a complete overhaul of your Business Continuity practices simply because a new standard has been launched.

I believe the development of ISO 22301 is a good step as it helps to create a level and consistent playing field across international boundaries. Many organisations operate with, supply to and depend on stakeholders outside their own country so it makes sense to have a common understanding and accepted level of what good looks like.

So, embrace the new standard, refer to it and use it in a practical, constructive way that suits your organisation’s requirements and stakeholder expectations. It’s only a new standard, not a complete reinvention of everything we have done before.


May 20, 2012 at 10:31 am
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Category: Governance & Standards