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Volume 27, Issue 3

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Answering Questions About BCI

While attending the Disaster Recovery Journal’s 45th conference in San Diego recently, I was approached by a number of attendees with questions about the Business Continuity Institute.

As you may know, the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) is offering educational courses and certification testing at the Disaster Recovery Journal’s conference from now on.

I was asked why DRII was no longer involved with the DRJ conference. I told those who asked that I didn’t know exactly, but I guessed it was because DRII wanted to run its own conference.

Then I was asked what I knew about BCI. Was its certification program as good as the DRII certification program? Should they be certified by the Business Continuity Institute or DRII? Should they switch their DRII certification to the BCI? Some asked, should they be certified by both organizations?

I answered honestly by explaining that I have not been intimately involved in either organization since 2000. Prior to that, I was familiar with DRII because I was elected to the certification board back in the late 90s. During the three-year period I served, I was very active reviewing credentials of people looking to be certified. In addition, along with other DRI certifiers, we worked together on suggesting a number of updates to the exam. After completing my term, I was no longer involved in the operations of the DRII. I am currently holding a “CBCP Retired” certification, which means I am not active in the business continuity business.

My familiarity with BCI began in 1994 when I spoke at the First BCI/Survive conference in the United States in Atlantic City, NJ. I was also a speaker for the organization at conferences in Johannesburg, South Africa (1995); in Sydney, Australia (March 1996) and (May 2000); in Chicago, Illinois (June 1996); in Bournemouth, England (November 1996) and in Wellington, New Zealand (May 2000).

When asked if I plan to be certified by BCI, I explain that I was given the honor of being awarded an “Honorary Fellow of the BCI” certification by the Board of the BCI in 1995. They did this based on my role in the disaster recovery and business resumption planning industry 1973-1995.


The BCI certificate is awarded to a BCP professional who passes an examination that demonstrates a thorough knowledge and understanding of the BCI’s Good Practice Guidelines. They also have to demonstrate experience as a business continuity management practitioner for at least three years across all six business competencies.

In addition to the MBCI (member), BCI offers three other levels of certification; FBCI (fellow) a senior membership held by more than 100 BCP professionals; AMBCI (associate), an entry level certification for a professional with at least one year’s general experience; and SBCI (specialist) for practitioners who specialize in aspects of BCP or work in associate disciplines.

BCI’s certification program is strongly recognized throughout the world. It is headquartered in the United Kingdom with chapters in well over 100 countries. It is very active in the United States and has certified an increasing number of U.S. BCP professionals. It is growing rapidly throughout the U.S.

One attendee at DRJ asked me why they should be certified by a United Kingdom organization? I responded that one advantage is that when interfacing with a BCP professional from one of their divisions in another country, or with a BCP professional from a supplier or customer, it was quite valuable for each BCP person to understand the policies and procedures of each other’s company as it does business throughout the world.

As a membership organization, BCI provides its members with Continuity magazine (quartlerly); e-newsletters and bulletins; access to copies of BCI workshop reports. These have kept me apprised of the differing issues between the U.S. approach and the approach throughout the rest of the world. And while I am speaking on the value of information provided by BCI, you may want to get a copy of:
  • Engaging & Sustaining the Interest of the Board, a new international study of over 600 organizations by the Business Continuity Institute and sponsored by Deloitte. This study reveals that in spite of the high profile failings of major companies to understand and manage risk over the past few years, executive teams are still failing to systematically address these challenges.
  •  BS25999 and other standards – The BCI is regularly asked by members and other interested parties about current legislation, regulation and standards that exist nationally and internationally for business continuity management. The document they have produced is the most comprehensive that was possible to produce based upon information provided by their members around the world. Where there is country input, it is included it alphabetically. At the end of the document there is a page summarizing current and projected international initiatives particularly those supported by the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.
As a personal aside, I found the challenge of meeting the expectations of BCP professionals in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom allowed me to grow beyond my approach to BCP in the U.S.

In conclusion, if I were asked which certification program a BCP professional should have, my answer would be, why not try both for a year and see which provides you with the most value.

Ed Devlin, CBCP, has provided business recovery planning consulting services since 1973 when he co-founded Devlin Associates. Since then, Devlin has assisted more than 300 companies in the writing of their business recovery plans and has made more than 800 seminars and presentations worldwide.