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Are Business Continuity Planning Certifications Moving Forward?
Certifications of one sort or another have been around seemingly forever. If you are old enough you may remember (some 30 years ago) when there were very few non-institutional IT certifications available. The certification boom started in the mid 80’s when some of the network operating system providers were trying to establish a base of knowledge competency (or a new revenue stream – depending on your perspective). At the time, passing some of these certification exams was a joke. They didn’t prove the competency or skill that they were created to achieve.
Of course most of those certification programs have matured. They’ve become more challenging – including theoretical as well as practical testing to ensure competency of the individual. Typically, the rate of change in technology has driven the recertification processes; as new products and technological advancements are revealed, certification qualifications have changed with them.
In Business Continuity we’re not really in the Technology and change businesses. Or are we?
We have definitely taken advantage of technology advancements. But have we experienced the same rate of change in the BCM industry? I would say we have. But our methods and principles have not really changed in over 20 years. We still promote and use basic paper-based tools when technology has taken us so much further. We even have two certification bodies for the same thing: two competing organizations, with two different sets of best practices, conforming to similar long-held principles.
In the past decade we’ve seen the emergence of NFPA 1600, then BS25999, and now ISO22301. The governing ‘compliance’ standards evolve. But are the certification bodies similarly fulfilling their duty by advancing our learning and introducing new principles? Are they pushing our industry forward? Or are they more concerned with the certification process than the suitability of the principles? Is there value to certifications, or are they more a business requirement than a measurement of skill or adequacy?
Now don’t get me wrong; I do believe that certifications are important for establishing a baseline level of knowledge and principles. They should also have impact in the hiring process. But do today’s BCM certifications provide any more than that? We can get a BCM certification and it becomes our standard forever. Qualification for recertification can be had simply by attending tradeshows, belonging to BCM organizations and conducting BIA’s, Risk Assessments and other practices that match those accepted principles. Why doesn’t recertification include requirements to understand the latest and greatest ideas, tools, concepts and industry direction?
Is BCM certification really advancing our industry? Are they providing proof of updated training on new or evolving BCM principles, on new ideas & concepts, and new tools? Or are we just teaching the same thing we did 20 years ago?