- BCI: http://www.thebcicertificate.org/
- BRCCI: www.brcci.org
- DRII: http://www.drii.org
- ICOR: http://www.theicor.org/
- Sentryx: http://www.sentryx.com/
Business Continuity Management has made considerable progress in recent years and is now a recognized profession in most private and public sector organizations, often including the Board Room and the Executive Suite. With this recognition has come an influx of those seeking to build their careers in Business Continuity Management. These new arrivals come from a variety of disciplines, including Information Technology, Audit, Human Resources, Emergency Management, and Information Security, to name a few of the background disciplines commonly found in BC Practitioners. And some come almost directly from college with discipline-specific courses under their belts, but little hands-on experience. Professional certification is the established mechanism, in BC as well as in many other professions, to distinguish experienced practitioners from new entrants to the field. As with any “proof of professional status,” certification within the business continuity profession exists to provide an indication of baseline education in a knowledge base of accepted best practices in our industry. The more advanced levels of certification attest to greater levels of experience in the field, and the highest certifications (such as FBCI, Fellow of the Business Continuity Institute) may indicate peer acceptance of thought leadership and contribution to the advancement of the profession.
And so you may ask yourself: “Why should I be certified in BC? What’s in it for me?” We are now at a level of development in the BCM profession where baseline certification is usually a requirement for even entry-level positions. For positions with wide scope and management responsibility, more advanced certifications are often requested, And so the answer to the career development question is short: certification provides increased professional opportunities. For a BC professional, certification is public recognition of professional qualifications. Whether you are the BC Manager for your company, or a member of a large BC consulting organization, or an independent consultant, certification can hold a variety of wide-ranging benefits for your professional development, including access to positions with greater responsibility and a higher compensation.
The certification requirement for ongoing education is also an incentive to increase the level of your professional knowledge on a continuing basis: This is a requirement in many professions, but is especially important in Business Continuity Management, where the profession is changing rapidly as it goes through accelerated growth stages. Most serious professions that are governed by certification or licensing allow professionals to attain higher certification levels as they build the depth and breadth of their experience within their chosen field: BCM is now one of those professions.
Additionally, some certification organizations offer significant membership benefits, including journals and a full array of internet communications and news services. More recently, social networks are offering members the opportunity to network with their peers in discussion groups sponsored by certification organizations as well as other important entities in the field.. In addition, some certification organizations offer special training classes before or after industry conferences.
When an organization wishes to build or improve its BC program, it must ensure that its business continuity efforts are well designed and effectively managed. An organization with certified BC professionals on its staff can be confident that the business continuity program is properly focused and will provide the organization with what it needs. When an incident occurs, those certified BC professionals will coordinate response activities using the comprehensive plans that have been developed. When a BC program has been built with the guidance of certified BC professionals, an organization can be confident in its ability to successfully manage a significant disruption incident.
Kathleen Lucey, FBCI, is the president of Montague Risk Management. She is the vice chair, BCI Global Membership Council, elected to the BCI International Board of Directors, and founding president of BCI-USA Chapter. She was selected as IBM BC Practitioner of the Year in 1998
John Copenhaver, MBCI, is chief executive officer of the Contingency Management Group and a senior advisor at BCI. Copenhaver is has served in a number of senior executive roles, including as a presidential appointee to FEMA and as president and CEO of the DRI International.