The future of Business Continuity Management

Blog post   •   Dec 24, 2015 10:59 GMT

It seems to me that BCM as we liked it has reached the end of its original lifecycle. Critical Infrastructures (CIs) ask us to consider a different picture of reality, one of complexity which is hard to handle. A map of interdependencies between CIs shows how the weakness or failure of one might impact on the entire chain.

An analysis of the dynamics of 9/11’s cascading impacts tells us that the double crash of the planes into the World Trade Center’s towers resulted, through numerous strange vectors, in the collapse of the internet and telecommunications. Complexity also lies with the governance of resilience and cybersecurity across CIs. The (recent) discovery of the risk of an 'extreme shock' that might blow away our CIs has raised the case for resilience engineering, not just for BCM.

Organisations may collapse and disappear - News of the World is the perfect example. Cyber-attacks may produce the same outcome. Combinations of attacks and hazards even more so. When struck by such high adversity, resilience stems from tactical reasoning mobilising various capabilities.

These capabilities are at the heart of the new challenge for us professionals, and for the BCI. Three propositions are of interest.

One is that new good practices and ad hoc standards are now required to help organisations address response at the five levels of the “Collapse Ladder”: Disruption (Planned response), Destabilisation (Manoeuvre Tactics), Paralysis (Survival Tactics), Devastation (Collapse & Rescue), and Destruction (Fatal Regime shift).

The second is that in order to reduce and master complexity of potential crises, influential organisations need to start ad hoc forums, such as ISACs, to engage their various partners and stakeholders into an extended enterprise-like PDCA loop of progressive improvement of their resilience maturity, both individual and collective.

The third is that BCM has to become Business Resilience Management or ‘BRM’.

Paul Theron FBCI is a Business Resilience Expert at Thales Group and leader of the BCI's French Forum.