Which Business Continuity Certification Should You Have?


Business continuity is a complex and fast-moving field. Best practices evolve all the time, and it seems a new international standard is being released each year. It can be challenging to keep up with all this change, while also focusing on your own organization’s BC program.

That’s why business continuity certification can be extremely beneficial. Holding a certification or two is a way to demonstrate to your organization and others in the BC industry that you are equipped with the most up-to-date BC knowledge and have a strong understanding of what makes a successful BC program.  

But what BC certifications are going to be the most effective, both in your day-to-day job and throughout your career in general?

Here, we take a look at five of the top certifications that stand to benefit any BC professional:

1.) ASIS International SPC.1-2009

The global security organization, ASIS International, offers its own certification on operational resilience, with a focus on security preparedness and continuity management systems. This program is particularly helpful for BC professionals who are working to build out new plans for recovering from a crisis. The certification uses a “plan-do-check-act” framework, much like other standards.

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2.) Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP)

Offered by DRI International, the CBCP designation is one of the most popular—and arguably one of the most recognized—in the BC industry. This certification covers all the basics of BC planning and preparation, and even includes options for specialist certifications, a master-level certification and more.

The CBCP is well rounded and gives you a chance to continue your education over time, making it a good choice for professionals who are new to BC or those looking to earn their first certification.

3.) Certificate of the Business Continuity Institute (CBCI)

The CBCI designation is similar to the CBCP, but is more widely used in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The CBCI is the first step toward becoming certified by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI). Much like the CBCP, the CBCI is also a fairly well-rounded certification. In this case, a single exam tests the applicant’s knowledge of “Good Practice Guidelines,” which are a wide-ranging, independently-developed collection of business continuity knowledge. Passing the exam also gives you certified membership into the BCI.

4.) ISO 22301 Certification

ISCO 22301 is one of the newest certifications within business continuity, having replaced the British Standards Institute BS 25999 in 2012. The new international standard is designed to help BC professionals to improve their development, implementation and management of BC efforts within their organizations.

The new standard is quickly gaining steam within the industry. According to the Business Continuity Institute’s 2016 Horizon Scan Report, 51 percent of organizations are now using ISO 22301 as a framework for business continuity management. Since this standard is internationally recognized, it is now recognized as a key certification, both in the U.S. and abroad. In larger organizations, it can be especially helpful in demonstrating your knowledge (and improving your confidence) when dealing with multiple groups of stakeholders.

5.) National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1600

Although NFPA 1600 originally only related to emergency management in the public sector, today the standard also encompasses BC activities within the private sector. Of course, fire is a key threat faced by most organizations, and it can be beneficial to learn from an organization that is primarily focused on fire protection.

This certification can be particularly helpful for BC professionals that operate in large, complex facilities with hundreds or even thousands of employees. The 2010 standard includes its own BCMS and “plan-do-check-act” framework.

What BC certifications do you currently hold? Which are you prioritizing as your next one to achieve?


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