Access Bank in Nigeria achieves certification to ISO:22031

“The ISO 22031 award is not just significant for Access Bank, but to Nigeria, as it will help boost Nigeria’s reputation in the global financial landscape by showing to the whole world especially the international investors, that the country is prepared to test itself and do business in line with international best practices.”

These are the words of the United Kingdom acting Deputy High Commissioner and Director, UK Trade and Investment, Mr. Mike Purves, during the presentation of ISO 22031 certificate for ‘Societal Security – Business Continuity Management Systems (BCMS) to Access Bank in Lagos recently. According to Purves, the award, which was presented to the bank by the British Standard Institute (BSI) after about three months of rigorous business impact analysis across all the departments of the bank, was a clear manifestation that BSI’s help to improve standards in Nigeria.

To Mr. Obinna Nwosu, the Group Deputy Managing Director of the bank, Access Bank deserves this award because it has chosen to seek certifications that require various preparatory processes and managed by globally reputable organisations.Nwosu was speaking against the background of the fact that organizations wishing to certify their BCMS will be externally audited against the requirements in ISO 22301.

He added: “We have become one of the organisations in Nigeria to be awarded ISO 22031 Societal Security – Business Continuity Management Systems Certification, based on international good practice, to manage business continuity. ISO 22301 specifies requirements to plan, es-tablish, implement, operate, monitor, review, maintain and continually improve a documented management system to prepare for, respond to and recover from disruptive events when they arise.”

What is ISO 22031?

ISO 22031 is the International Standard for Business Continuity Management Systems. It defines the strategic and tactical capability of an organisation to plan for and respond to incidents and business disruptions in order to continue business operations at an acceptable pre-defined level.

It is an incontrovertible fact that most organisations will, at some point, be faced with having to respond to an incident which may disrupt or threaten the day-to-day operations of their business. A successful Business Con-tinuity Management (BCM) programme, established to respond to any potential disruption, is essential for all organisations.

Ensuring a holistic BCMS is in place will not only help the organisation recover from disasters, it will also prevent the reputational damage that can arise from any operational outages, missed deadlines, upset customers, or direct financial loss. Business Continuity Management involves the recovery or continuation of business activities in the event of any business disruption.

The overall BCM programme is expected to be managed through activities such as determining the scope, risk evaluation, business continuity strategy, business continuity objectives, development planning, training, exercises, testing, reviewing and continual development. Even if an organisation has never experienced a serious incident, establishing a BCMS, built on ISO 22301, helps to define key business processes and the disruption that could result from any threats.

According to Mrs Adedoyin Odunfa, the Managing Director of Digital Jewels, “the ISO 22301 is suitable for use in businesses of all sizes across all sectors, as it will help protect the organization against the threats specific to its business. These could include natural disaster, information technology failure, staff illness, terrorist threat or a disruption in supply chain. ISO 22301 will provide you with a framework for assessing critical suppliers and their associated risks, assessing current business practices and planning contingency measures. When incidents happen, the organization will be prepared and able to respond effectively. It will also be able to reduce downtime having identified alternative arrangements. With ISO 22301, organizations will not only significantly help reduce the risks to their businesses, but will also help will help achieve operational resilience.”

Speaking on what the award will do for his bank, Nwosu summed it up like this: “The ISO 22301 standardisation certification will help improve our business by ensuring planned, effective business continuity management at all levels, including organization-wide identification and understanding of critical business processes and the impact of disruption, timely and orderly responses to incidents and business disruptions”.

What is next for the bank after clinching the award? Nwosu seemed to be telling other quoted companies to take a cue when he said: “I wish to state the board and management’s continued commitment to business continuity across the bank.”

Other benefits of attaining this certification include the following: It gives the certified an advantage over the less resilient competitors; improved risk profile in the minds of insurers, resulting in reduced insurance premiums, increase the survival chance of both the organization and employees and helps organization communicate a positive message to the media and stakeholders in crisis conditions.

(Source:The Sun - November 3rd)