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The Business Continuity Institute (BCI) has announced that the latest version of its Good Practice Guidelines to business continuity is now available. The 2018 edition features a new concept for both the design and content. Visually speaking, the BCM Lifecycle has evolved from a separate stand-alone cycle of activities, to become a series of inter-connected cogs. The related management disciplines are shown as separate but closely linked cogs to represent the relationship between the disciplines. Throughout the guidelines, the importance of collaboration between these disciplines is emphasised.

The Policy and Programme Management Professional Practice has been revised to recognise how business continuity has become more established, with programmes being embedded into organizations.

The Embedding Professional Practice has evolved to cover the integration of business continuity into business as usual activities using a collaborative approach to improve organizational resilience. It addresses the importance of understanding and influencing organizational culture, but a greater emphasis is placed on an organization-wide approach. It includes adapting to change, and engaging with individuals and groups more effectively.

The Analysis Professional Practice has been subject to the most change as part of the GPG revision. The key change is the alignment to ISO/TS 22317:2015; the international standard for business impact analysis guidance. While different BIA methods exist, the GPG 2018 edition provides guidance for professionals to apply and adapt these methods as appropriate to the organizations they work in.

The Design Professional Practice is the stage of the BCM Lifecycle that identifies and selects solutions to determine how continuity can be achieved during a disruption. The move away from the strategic, tactical and operation-levels in the GPG 2018 edition has led to a more organization-wide approach to designing business continuity solutions.

The Incident Response Structure has moved from this stage of the BCM Lifecycle to the Policy and Programme Management stage when roles and responsibilities are assigned, whilst the detail of response structure development has been brought into the Implementation stage when the business continuity plans are developed.

The renamed Response Structure section is now part of the Implementation stage. This Professional Practice retains the strategic, tactical, and operational-levels for response structure and plan development, however, the GPG 2018 edition recommends that the organization should develop a flexible approach that is closely aligned to the existing management structure, and is capable of dealing with many different types of disruption.

The activities of exercising, maintenance and review remain key to the Validation stage of the business continuity programme. The names of the different types of exercises have been amended and guidance is provided for the development programme and the planning and delivery of exercises.

A management review is recommended in the GPG 2018 edition as an additional type of review. It provides opportunities for top management to understand the performance of the business continuity programme and to ensure that is remains aligned to the overall objectives of the organization. Regular review of the business continuity programme is essential for continual improvement.

The GPG is free as a digital download for members of the BCI. Log-in to your account to download. Non-members can purchase it from here.

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Business continuity?

Business continuity can be defined as 'the processes, procedures, decisions and activities to ensure that an organization can continue to function through an operational interruption'. Read more about the basics of business continuity here.

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