Answering Questions About BCI
FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF ED DEVLIN
By ED DEVLIN, CBCP
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
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 bulle-
tins; 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:
u 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.
u 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
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.