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What is Resilience and How Does It Fit With Business Continuity Principles?

Clear communication channels can enhance business resilience
Category - Business, General
by Lisa Eifert on May 9th, 2016

Resilience is an important part of continuity and disaster preparedness initiatives, so important that it is the focus on a forthcoming ISO standard, ISO 22316. Learn what resilience is, why is it so important, and what the upcoming ISO 22316 will mean for management.

What is Resilience?

Resilience helps businesses take continuity principles out of their silo and integrate business continuity with all disaster recovery and emergency preparedness initiatives for a stronger response to any threat.

Resilience builds upon the concepts of preparedness and recovery by focusing on how businesses can maintain their usual operations in the face of unexpected disasters. Resilience focuses not just on how to get back to business after something goes wrong, but on how businesses can position themselves to protect their brand equity, their resources, and their staff from threats.

Like continuity, resilience focuses on preserving the processes and procedures that help businesses survive unexpected threats. Recognizing that businesses operate in an environment of continuous change, resilience focuses on how to best preserve value in these complex environments.

Oftentimes, businesses focus on disaster recovery in terms of assets yet overlook one of the largest enterprise assets – their staff. To really respond when something goes wrong, staff must understand their roles and responsibilities so they can carry out continuity plans.

How Resilience Fits With Business Continuity

The pressing demands of the global economy have changed things for businesses. Now, companies need to get back online as quickly after a disaster as possible or they risk suffering business or reputation losses. Thus, crisis management and business continuity are critical after a disaster.

Resilient crisis management focuses on raising awareness, developing a set of strategies, and educating team members about roles and responsibilities in a crisis. Businesses must have plans in place for everything from a hurricane or flood to a bomb threat, active shooter, and employee strike. No matter the crisis unfolding, the enterprise needs clear communication channels and chains of command to allow for the best possible response to the situation as it unfolds.

Once the crisis is stabilized, resilient continuity principles help the business return to normal operation while minimizing stress and losses. If a flood renders the first floor unusable, continuity principles can outline temporary relocation, staff notification, and all the other tasks that must happen before staff can get back to work. If a shooter arrives on site, continuity can ensure the site is locked down and all managers receive notification of the emergency while seeking to get the authorities onsite to neutralize the situation.

ISO 22316 – Principles of Resilience

ISO 22316, “Security and resilience — Guidelines for organizational resilience,” has a target publication date of April 2017 and posits that building resilience should be a “strategic organizational goal.”

Compounding the difficulty of developing a standard is the fact that the notion of resilience is dynamic, not static. There is no definitive measurement of resilience for organizations to implement. Instead, businesses can learn resilient principles and practice them to safeguard the organization. At present the specific principles of ISO 22316 are not publicly available.

Managers looking to stay abreast of best practices in business continuity should watch for ISO 22316 and implement its principles into the unique culture of their organization. By doing so, managers can best protect the organization, keep staff informed, and not only survive but thrive after the unexpected happens.

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