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Business continuity guide

The annual Business Continuity Institute conference in London was the occasion for the launch of the sixth edition of the good practice guide, GPG 2018. At a breakfast event at the Novotel at Hammersmith, on the morning of the opening of the two-day BCI World 2017 conference and exhibition, BCI chairman James McAlister, pictured right, introduced BCI executive director, David Thorp, to address the invited audience. Thorp described the guide launch, coming five years after the previous edition, as the end of an 18-month process, involving 60 people. He said: “This is truly global in its scope; it represents the latest thinking about practice in our profession.”

Visually, the ‘BCM Lifecycle’ of previous editions has evolved from a separate stand-alone cycle of activities, to become a series of inter-connected cogs, which include physical security, information security, and facilities management. For more on the 2018 edition of the guide, visit the BCI website.

Deborah Higgins, Head of Professional Development at the BCI, then spoke more about the document. She said that business continuity was not just by business continuity people, but was for overall resilience; it was working with risk and security managers, and, increasingly, IT. She stressed that business continuity managers should collaborate with different professions and departments. Speaking of the guide itself, she stressed how it was easy to navigate, and colour-coordinated.

As she said, BC managers use the guide alongside regulations and ISO international standards. She called it a ‘truly unique piece of guidance, because it comes from users and it’s what is done in practice; and works.”

On what makes up the guide, and business continuity management (BCM), she spoke of how risk managers assess risk; and how BC professionals think about threats. Hence a combined risk and threat assessment. She admitted that was ‘quite a difficult process’ to get consensus on; but it was a way to work together and more closely with risk managers.

Besides being well laid-out, the guide offers besides theory some real-life examples of BCM. Feedback was welcome.

Among the end users speaking at BCI World 2017, Vicki Gavin, the compliance director, head of business continuity, cyber security and data privacy at The Economist Group, stressed the collaborative nature of The Economist’s BC and resilience function. And as a sign of how BC does take in various occupations, Carrie Birmingham, a former HR director for a UK news group, discussed her time on a national newspaper (The Sun) and the impact of a crisis on staff and organisational resilience. Crisis communication – and knowing whether your staff are safe in a crisis – was a theme for the conference. Among speakers on that were Ann Lowe, of emergency comms product company Send Word Now; and Imad Mouline, CTO of Everbridge, and Stuart Birch, business development manager of the medical and security emergency response firm International SOS.

Two speakers that opened the conference were the former Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard (now Lord) Hogan-Howe, who spoke and took questions on leadership; and Sheikh Dr Salah Al-Ansari, senior researcher at the anti-extremism consultancy Quilliam International, who suggested that cyber might be more of a future attack method for terrorists.


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