ISO 22301 Business Continuity Standard

ISO 22301 is a set of requirements designed to help businesses shield themselves from the damage (physical, financial, personnel, reputational) caused by disruptive events. The standard can help companies build a robust Business Continuity Management System (BCMS) to avoid or quickly overcome business disruption by following the ISO 22301 best practices. ISO 22301 benefits small and large businesses and even nonprofit organizations. It covers both natural as well artificial disruptive events.

What is the Business Continuity Management System (BCMS), the primary requirement of ISO 22301?

ISO 22301 is a framework of policies and procedures that help businesses avoid or minimize the damage that could be caused by a disaster. It requires companies to define and identify potential risks and develop a disaster management plan that can be executed during an emergency. The plan should be tested and reviewed periodically to ensure it is current.

Disasters do not give you enough time to think and prepare a response structure. But, even a small one, such as an interruption in the power supply or malfunctioning of machinery, can affect your supply chain management.

A well-drafted business continuity system is essential for returning to normal after an emergency. ISO 22301 includes the key people to help in the recovery. It specifies the roles and responsibilities of the key people involved, eliminating guesswork.

What types of disruptive events are covered under ISO 22301?

  • All types of natural disasters, including adverse weather conditions such as drought and flood, earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes, storms, etc.
  • Loss of key personnel
    Interruption in raw material supplies
  • Power, telecom, water, and IT outrages
  • Cyberattacks, including data breaches
  • Terrorisms and social unrest
  • Pandemic
  • Security-related issues, including robberies
  • Malfunctioning of machinery
  • Damage to physical properties
  • Spilling or leakage of hazardous substances

Please note: This is not a complete list. ISO 22301 covers all minor and major events that could disrupt the normal functioning of a business.

Although ISO 22301 protects against cyber fraud, its scope is limited and doesn’t cover informational assets in detail. ISO 27001 certification is more aligned with an online business(along with ISO 22301 if needed).

Benefits of getting ISO 22301 certification

It helps prevent any significant damage
The core objective of the business continuity system is to ensure that a business is thoroughly prepared to handle a crisis. Being fully prepared will help you avoid or minimize the financial and physical loss in the worst scenario. It will help you quickly restore your supply chain management. For a service provider, it will ensure minimum possible hassles to your customers.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 25% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster, and financial loss is the biggest reason for this. Complying with ISO 22301 will prevent you from being among that 25%.

ISO 22301 compliance helps protect (and even enhance) your brand’s reputation

Your customers do not care if you have experienced a data breach or a machinery failure. They want to get their products or services on time, every time. They may become slightly forgiving during a crisis that has also affected them, such as a flood or a terrorist attack. But, they would still expect you to serve them as expected.

By adhering to ISO 22301, you will be able to fulfill their expectations. You will be able to earn their trust and their reference, which will help you get and retain business. Your stakeholders and vendors will appreciate the preparedness.

ISO 22301 Business continuity management system reduces dependence on any specific person

Businesses, especially the smaller ones, heavily rely on just a few decision-makers responsible for deciding almost every aspect of the company, including crisis management. These people are usually hard to replace.

ISO 22301 ensures that businesses do not become 100% dependent on them and can survive a catastrophe by following the business continuity plan even if the key personnel are unavailable or are no longer associated with you.

ISO 22301 framework and requirement

ISO 22301 has ten sections or clauses, out of which three are introductory, and the rest seven clauses describe the actionable requirements businesses must fulfill to get certified. All these clauses are mandatory, and companies that want ISO 22301 certifications must adhere to them, irrespective of their size and scope.

Who Can Implement ISO 22301 and how?

Almost all businesses, irrespective of their size and nature, can choose ISO 22301 certification. Although it is not mandatory, it is essential for every company that wants to stay prepared for a crisis and prove to the stakeholders its sincerity and genuineness.

ISO 22301 is mandatory in some countries, especially in industries such as public transport, logistics, energy, etc.