No matter a business’s size, maturity or operating sector, all companies should have a robust continuity plan. If the past few years have taught us anything in the UK, expect the unexpected. If your company isn’t prepared even after the pandemic, changes to the British Government and extended periods of financial uncertainty, now is the time to change that.
A business continuity plan contains all the critical recovery information needed to help a company survive even during uncertain times. ISO 22301 is a formal compliance measure that supports organisations in achieving longevity through reliable recovery frameworks. As with all of the other ISO certifications, this can only be achieved if a business completely applies themselves to the models set out in the standard.
In this article, we will cover exactly what business continuity planning is, why it’s so important and how ISO 22301 provides a way for all companies to operate safely. Keep reading to learn more.
- What Is Business Continuity Management?
- Do All Businesses Need Continuity Planning?
- How Does ISO 22301 Create a Business Continuity Plan?
- What Are The Benefits Of Business Continuity Management Planning Via ISO 22301?
- How Can A Business Become ISO 22301 Certified?
What Is Business Continuity Management?
As the name would suggest, business continuity management is concerned with keeping operations moving forward even when adverse circumstances try to derail them. Known by many as a productive way to ensure disruption doesn’t gain power, the term reflects a hands-on approach to planning that protects businesses in the long run.
Some of the main examples of scenarios when business continuity plans will need to be executed are as follows:
- Natural disasters
- Supply chain issues
- Financial uncertainty
- Staff illness or resignation
- Process failures and/or human errors
- Cybersecurity hacks and other digital risks
- Business scaling scenarios
The process first defines risks to map out all eventualities that could impact operations. Although it’s impossible to predict everything (take the Pandemic, for example!), if enough risks are scoped, the learnings can be applied to different issues. Once risks are highlighted, a recovery plan should be created after testing different resolution methods. As with other compliance standards, continuity planning is something that needs continual input and auditing as external factors are changing all of the time. This is why ISO 22301 offers a brilliant and reactive way to stay on top of risk management.
Do All Businesses Need Continuity Planning?
Even though 67% of businesses managed to apply a continuity plan when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the number of companies that have maintained a structured approach has fluctuated in recent years.
The reality is that, yes, all companies should have a continuity plan in place and people responsible for ensuring it stays updated. Every business is at risk of disrupting operations at one point or another. Whether it’s a global situation or something that seems as harmless as a
staffing shortage, anything that can have a negative repercussion is not managed effectively.
At Creative Networks, we believe all businesses should have a strong and tested plan; without it, the effects could be catastrophic.
How Does ISO 22301 Create a Business Continuity Plan?
The 22301 ISO compliance certification offers a structured approach to creating, updating and maintaining a business continuity plan. This is achieved due to the wide-reaching approach that the requirements cover, uniting all company departments and stakeholders through one tested framework for management.
The main principles covered within ISO 22301 apply relevance and context, allowing each business to have a bespoke continuity plan. Firstly, this is achieved by understanding context and risks. As the foundation for the standard, this allows everyone to see the potential and existing issues so that planning can be directed properly.
As with all ISO standards, leadership and stakeholder roles are clearly defined. This ensures responsibilities are known and that when the strategy has to be used, things run smoothly to achieve a full recovery. Additional visibility is provided via transparency and performance testing, which the auditing processes encourage. By adhering to ISO 22301 and conducting regular testing, the effectiveness of a continuity plan can constantly be maintained. Without this, there is a risk that plans will be outdated when it comes time to use it.
In summary, ISO 22301 encourages the constant cycle of risk depiction and resolution with which a healthy business continuity plan is founded.
What Are The Benefits Of Business Continuity Management Planning Via ISO 22301?
Some of the advantages of using ISO 222301 to create a business continuity plan are as follows:
- Visibility is shared throughout an entire company, improving the ongoing safe working and potential success of a continuity plan should it be executed. More stakeholder buy-in will equal stronger resilience and, therefore, less chance of having to use the plans altogether. This is one of the reasons that ISO 22301 is different to Cyber Essentials as all departments are considered.
- The high levels of adherence also give companies a better chance of meeting general and specific legal requirements for their sector.
- As is a benefit of adopting any ISO standard, compliant companies also improve their brand image and reputation. Not only does this appeal to stakeholders such as employees, suppliers and customers, but it also shows potential malicious parties that the business is resilient.
- ISO 22301 is also globally recognised and has a positive reputation across all territories.
- Businesses with an effective plan can keep operations moving along positively even when a disaster strikes. This means the lost money and productivity can be greatly minimised and regained quickly.
- The risk identification required also supports other business areas not concerned with continuity. It effectively allows a business to highlight any risks at their foundation level so that resolutions can be implemented instead of recovery.
- We also couldn’t miss out on the financial benefits. These include protecting money in times of uncertainty and operating at a constantly cost-effective level without having to worry about unbudgeted costs arising.
- Companies can also constantly improve their operations, and ISO 22301 encourages a level of awareness that is designed to improve productivity.
How Can A Business Become ISO 22301 Certified?
As we have covered, ISO 22301 implements a successful business continuity plan that exceeds normal versions, encouraging constant iteration and improvements. This might lead you to think that the process of obtaining ISO 22301 is complex, but it’s, in fact, simple to follow when you have the right support.
The steps are as follows:
Outline The Scope For Your Business
Owners must be assigned at the start of the project and noted in all formal documentation as well as defining what ISO 22301 will likely look like for your company.
You may also choose to select some professional support at this point to guide you through the process. At Creative Networks, we offer a full ISO 22301 service, which means support can be offered at any stage.
Define The Framework
This should be completed via carrying out a gap analysis and full risk assessment in light of business continuity needs.Throughout this phase, a document structure, policies, processes, and employee management elements should all be firmed up, as these are the basis of the compliance application.
There must also be a clear understanding of your business’s risk factors and proven ways of resolving these should disaster strike.
Conduct Internal Audits
Evidence of testing your framework will need to be provided to achieve ISO 22301 status. This includes making edits to defined processes to ensure the outcome is full protection should disaster strike.
Officially Apply For The Certification
This includes the official internal and two-stage external audits by our chosen awarding body. All audits are carried out in line with the measures and controls of ISO 22301 to test the performance of the strategy and the effectiveness of the risk management planning. A three-year certification term will begin if you successfully pass all audits.