Resilience in a Digital Age: New BSI Guidance on ICT Continuity


17 February 2009

BSI British Standards publishes BS 25777 Information and communications technology continuity management. Code of practice.

How long could your business cope without information and communications technology? No email, no internet, and the potential loss of vital company information could reduce the ability to operate. Consequently an undermined reputation could await organizations that do not have an effective ICT continuity management system in place. BS 25777, a new standard from BSI British Standards will help organizations plan and implement an ICT continuity strategy.

ICT continuity management, a key part of the overall business continuity management (BCM) process of an organization, ensures that ICT services are resilient and in the event of disaster, can be recovered within timescales agreed with senior management. BS 25777 provides recommendations for implementing effective ICT continuity within the wider framework of Business Continuity Management (provided in BS 25999 Business Continuity Management).

BSI has drawn together experts from industry, government and non-governmental organizations to provide best practice guidelines on all aspects of ICT continuity. Recommendations cover areas such as the competency of ICT personnel, raising awareness of ICT continuity among relevant staff and understanding critical ICT services.

Catastrophic IT failure

A 2007 BSI survey of the FTSE 250 found that 67% of companies consider themselves ‘very well prepared for’ catastrophic IT failure (up from 51% in 2006 and 27% in 2005).

However, recent adverse weather conditions in the UK, as well as human influenced disruption like terrorism, means an increased possibility of catastrophic IT failure. Consequently, there is always room for improvement.

ICT continuity reaps rewards

The benefits of effective ICT continuity for an organization include:
• Strengthened confidence in organizational business continuity strategy
• Developed and enhanced competence of ICT staff through the exercise and testing ICT continuity arrangements
• Potential competitive advantage through the demonstrated ability to deliver business continuity management.

Mike Low, Director of BSI British Standards, said: “BSI’s latest standard in the area of Continuity Management focuses on the specific area of ICT continuity - an absolutely crucial element of an overall BCM strategy - will help an organization survive a crisis. We have brought together a wide range of expertise to produce a robust best practice guidance document which should help organizations regardless of size, complexity or sector.

Increasingly, organizations recognize the importance of BCM in protecting their operations and their brand. BSI recently announced a joint initiative with the Department of Health to increase the resilience of the National Health Service. We are also responding to enthusiasm for BS 25999, the BSI standard on Business Continuity Management, in the United States by collaborating with ASIS International on the development of the first BCM standard in the US.”