BCMS
5 min

ISO 22301 BCM Lifecycle

Posted by: TÜV SÜD Expert

An Overview of Business Continuity Management lifecycle

In today's dynamic business environment, every enterprise is exposed to various risks that can potentially harm its operations, people, and brand value. The risks can come in multiple forms, such as natural disasters, human errors, security breaches, and much more. Therefore, any business organisation must have a mechanism to safeguard its daily operations and help it recover quickly in case of disruption. A Business Continuity Management System (BCMS) is a holistic approach to deal with such risks and ensure the organisation’s smooth functioning.

A BCMS is a structured mechanism that identifies the critical functional areas with more significant risk exposure potential. It helps businesses build a plan to prevent critical business operations from getting impacted by such risks. It also prepares the organisation’s employees on how to react in the unlikely event of a disruption and recover from the potential damage it causes. In short, it equips the concerned enterprise with the ability to deal with any disruption and recover from it without having a potentially harmful effect on its critical operations.

To ensure that a Business Continuity Management plan reaps maximum benefits, it is essential to frame the structured mechanism using the framework of a Business Continuity Management lifecycle. This lifecycle can be divided into five phases, and the five phases constitute the life of a Business Continuity Management System:

  • Risk Assessment and Business Impact Analysis
  • Planning 
  • Implementation
  • Exercise and Audit 
  • Maintenance and Review

With a Business Continuity Management plan, businesses can be assured that nothing can effectively come in the way of their smooth functioning and can continue to deliver their commitments effectively. A well-structured Business Continuity Management System not only safeguards the organisation’s daily operations, reputation, and brand value but also protects the interests of its stakeholders. It is a proactive approach to dealing with potential risks and ensures that the organisation is always prepared to face any disruption. Therefore, every business organisation should consider implementing a business continuity management system to safeguard its operations and people from potential risks.

Phases of Business Continuity Management lifecycle

Business Continuity Management (BCM) is truly crucial for any business, and to have a robust system in place, it is necessary to follow specific guidelines related to formulating it. 

BCM is a continual process that can be divided into five phases throughout its lifecycle, which caters to the requirements of BCM lifecycle as per ISO 22301:

  1. Risk Assessment and Business Impact Analysis: For drafting any plan, it is essential to identify the areas that are expected to be addressed. This is where scoping holds significant importance. It is vital to identify areas to focus on while making a business continuity management (BCM) plan to derive maximum results. This can be done by conducting a risk-threat assessment to understand the risk associated with various business activities of the organisation. 

    The biggest potential threats to the organisation can be found by performing comprehensive research and analysis on them with risk assessment. On the other side, business impact analysis (BIA), a structured procedure, aids in the identification of the most critical business functions, particularly those that may be more vulnerable to risk. The crucial step in the BIA process is to ensure that the essential tasks for business operations are given the attention they deserve. In contrast, those with a negligible impact on business operations can be taken care of later.
  2. Planning: This is one of the most critical stages of the BCM lifecycle. Since every business operation and the risk associated with it is unique, it is, therefore, important to develop an action plan tailored to it. Such a customised action plan can ensure a suitable response mechanism in case of any disruption. The top management plays a vital role at this stage. The senior management employees draft a business continuity policy that includes the critical operations, stakeholders’ interests and the purpose of a Business Continuity Management System. The commitment from the top level of the organisation ensures that the system is made to cater to the organisation’s needs in the best possible way. Another critical factor is communicating the respective BCM strategy to the stakeholders and employees to ensure their understanding of the plan for ready action.
  3. Implementation: Once the plans and layout of strategies are in place, it is time for execution. Before implementing the plans, it is essential to understand the resources available (both human resources and capital) and then allocate the response mechanisms accordingly. The employees must know their response mechanisms and execute the required strategies in an unprecedented event. This stage also includes documentation of communication with the stakeholders and interested parties. Documentation can be in the form of records of emails, minutes of meetings, and official communications.
  4. Exercise and Audit: After implementing the plans mentioned above and strategies, testing them to ensure that these meet the organisation’s requirements is necessary. Proper training should be provided to personnel through simulations of potential disruptions. Such training exercises can help understand whether the BCMS meets the required objectives. Another occasion when the plan can be tested is when a disruption occurs. The actual event can help in understanding the action mechanisms and decisions taken on a real-time basis which helps in ascertaining the pros and cons of the system with utmost accuracy.

    After the plans are actioned, it is essential to conduct an internal audit of the BCMS to understand the gaps in the mechanism and to ensure that these are addressed to ensure the system's overall efficacy.
  5. Maintenance and Review: To keep the organisation up-to-date with the rapidly changing environment, it is essential to maintain the BCMS and update it as per the needs of the business environment. This can be done by reviewing the BCMS at regular intervals and updating it as per the needs of the operations. Regular reviews also help in understanding the non-conformities and help in taking corrective actions to eliminate the causes of such non-conformities. With continual improvement and a review plan in place, the efficiency of the business continuity management is highly enhanced.

Following the business continuity management lifecycle is undoubtedly the most reliable solution for businesses to continue delivering their key commitments, even during disruption and surviving to thrive and achieve heights of success.

How can BCM certification help an organisation?

For any organisation, along with a strong business strategy, developing a business continuity plan is essential to run the business operations smoothly. To reduce the risks of unforeseen events that the world forces organisations to deal with, it is necessary to have a practical business continuity strategy in place.

A well-structured BCMS equips the concerned enterprise with the ability to deal with any disruption and recover from it without potentially harming its critical operations. Risks can come in various forms, such as natural calamities, human errors, sabotage, technical failures, security attacks, and much more. When and how these risks will affect an organisation is hard to predict, but what every organisation can do is be prepared to face them at its full capacity, with minimal impact on its business and operations.

Conclusion

Developing a solid Business Continuity Management System requires the assistance of qualified personnel and experienced professionals well-versed in BCM standards such as ISO 22301 and the precautions to be followed while designing a BCM strategy.

BCMS certification and training play a vital role in enhancing the effectiveness of a business continuity plan. Employees and experts who have undergone BCM training can significantly contribute to protecting the firm from risks and disasters. They can use their experience and knowledge to create a strategy and confirm its validity and viability. With the required certifications and training, the personnel can be more valuable and beneficial to the organisation in risk management, reaction mechanisms, and strategy.

TÜV SÜD offers comprehensive training services that enable staff members and experts to contribute to the planning and implementation processes by giving them a thorough understanding of the BCM process. Organisations can be equipped to handle any potential disturbance and shield themselves from any adverse effects due to global uncertainty and ongoing dynamic business events.

TÜV SÜD can support organisations in their journey to achieve the ISO 22301 Business Continuity Management (BCM) System certification with our services:

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