The Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc. (RIMS) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the practice of risk management. Founded in 1950, RIMS represents more than 3,500 industrial, service, non-profit, charitable and governmental entities. The society serves more than 10,000 risk management professionals around the world. The membership of RIMS is made up of corporate members who are affiliated with local chapters and divided into regions. The chapters meet on a regular basis and the regions usually hold annual conferences.
Douglas Barlow, a pioneer in the risk management profession, who actually coined the term “risk management” in the 1950’s famously once said, “All management is risk management.” Barlow was obviously ahead of his time and his perceptive view of the management of risk has now evolved into today’s “enterprise risk management” model of the management of risk.
It is this concept of enterprise risk management that brings us to the point of assessing the interdependencies of many disciplines within an organization and changing management practices to add value to the overall organization, rather than having different disciplines competing for ever scarcer resources within the organization. The practice of business continuity is an integral part of the enterprise risk management process and helps to explain the close relationship between the two organizations.
Disaster recovery had its roots in the early 1980’s as computers began to drive more and more of commerce and industry. Concerns of the business impact of major computer outages or failures led to individuals creating procedures for protecting data and applications. The Disaster Recovery Journal and the Disaster Recovery Institute International were the offshoot of this movement, a forum to exchange information and ideas and a not-for-profit organization to certify individual’s knowledge and experience in this growing discipline. In the mid 1990s it became apparent that DR had to expand to cover more than just computer/IT failures. Around this time DR began to expand into business continuity (BC) where the focus was on recovering the entire “enterprise”, not just a single business function.
In 1995 the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) issued NFPA 1600 as a recommended document on emergency management and business continuity. This document would become an ANSI-recognized standard in 2000. Now we see emergency management (EM) included with DR and BC. The next stage in the concept brought DR, BC, EM and now crisis management (CM) into a process called business continuity management. All the while the DRI International Professional Practices for Business Continuity Practitioners, the tenets of BCM, kept current with these changes. Logically, the next step was to incorporate BCM and risk management into the overall process of enterprise-wide management.
The relationship between the DRI International and RIMS began several years ago as an examination of the synergies between the two professional disciplines, which are numerous. The advent of the concept of enterprise risk management along with the ever growing interest in disaster recovery/business continuity management provided for a natural partnership.
In today’s economy, with ever increasing pressure to do more with less, and with many differing organizational structures with both risk management and business continuity reporting to different areas from facilities to treasury to the CEO, the enterprise wide management of risk helps to facilitate the practice of both disciplines. The dramatic growth of both ERM and BCM is not just a trend here in the US, but is evident on a global basis. The training, certification, experience and skill sets of both professions are of increasing value to organizations in our global economy.
About four years ago, DRI International became an exhibitor at the annual RIMS conference. Subsequently, in 2009 DRI International became a part of the RIMS “Professional Exchange of Risk Knowledge” (or PERK program) with a session titled “Business Continuity Management for Risk Managers.” This session can be presented to RIMS Chapters or RIMS regional conferences.
Going forward, the importance of business continuity management, utilizing certified professionals, as a part of the enterprise risk management process will continue to increase. Both DRI International and RIMS are working hard to stay at the cutting edge of their respective professions through this beneficial partnership.
Alan Berman is a CBCP, is a member of the ASIS BS25999 technical committee, a member of the Committee of Experts for ANSI-ANAB, a former member of the NY City Partnership for Security and Risk Management, executive director for Disaster Recovery Institute and the co-chair for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation committee to create the new standard for the US Private Sector Preparedness Act (PL 110-53).