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International standard for effective business continuity updated by ISO

by Brian Sims

Natural disasters, fires, supply chain issues and cyber attacks are just some of the many unexpected yet possible threats posed to the smooth running of any business. Consistent and robust business continuity planning for what to do when disaster strikes is the best defence. The International Standards Organisation (ISO) recognises that fact and, as a result, has updated its ISO 22301 standard to reflect recent developments.

Uncertainty has never been more certain. Business disruption is a key area of concern for most executives. Managed well, though, the benefits and opportunities are many. Having effective business continuity plans and capabilities in place is key to restoring operations if anything should go awry.

ISO 22301 Security and Resilience – Business Continuity Management Systems – Requirements is widely recognised as the world’s first international standard for implementing and maintaining an effective business continuity plan. It enables an organisation to have a more effective response and a quicker recovery, thereby reducing any impact on people, products and the organisation’s bottom line.

The international standard has recently been updated to remain current and relevant and continue to meet market needs. James Crask, convenor of the ISO Working Group of experts that developed the standard, said it brings together some of the world’s Best Practice to help organisations of any kind respond to, and recover from, disruptions on an efficient and effective basis.

“A resilient organisation is one that’s able to adapt to change, is aware of where its vulnerabilities lie and has plans in place to respond should things go wrong,” said Crask. “Recovering quickly from a business disruption requires a deep understanding of what’s important to a given organisation, easy-to-follow response plans and staff that know their role in an incident.”

Continuing that theme, Crask explained to Risk Xtra: “ISO 22301 helps organisations do all of that, thereby providing reassurance to their clients, suppliers, regulators and other stakeholders alike that they’re not only prepared for disruption, but also in the best possible shape for the future.”

Key improvements to the latest version of ISO 22301 include A clearer structure and terminology to foster a better understanding of what’s required and updates to remain in line with all other ISO management system-focused standards.

ISO 22301 was developed by ISO Technical Committee ISO/TC 292 (Security and Resilience), the secretariat of which is held by SIS, ISO’s member for Sweden.

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