Is a business continuity certification really worth the investment?
Though some organizations may not require their business continuity managers to hold certifications in business continuity, a great many do.
Above and beyond the added benefits that certifications provide for job seekers, they also offer value in terms of actual knowledge.
Business continuity professionals who want to maintain their skills and knowledge – as well as professionals seeking entry into this field – can learn important information by obtaining these certifications.
Below, we’ll look at a number of certifications and courses that can be useful for professionals working in the field of business continuity, starting with business continuity certifications themselves.
A Business Continuity Certification FAQ
Answering some of the most frequently asked questions about business continuity can help us better understand what these certifications are and what their role is in the field of business continuity.
What is a business continuity certification?
As the name suggests, a business continuity certification is an educational certificate that provides education for those working in the field of business continuity management (BCM).
The coursework includes content that focuses on:
- Business impact analyses. A business impact analysis examines how different business disruptions would impact the organization. These analyses examine a variety of factors, such as the organization, the industry, the timing, and the duration, in order to determine the financial impact of the disruption. This information is then used to devise business continuity plans, another important tool in business continuity management.
- The design of business continuity plans. Business continuity planning is another core element within business continuity management. These plans leverage the results of the business impact analysis to outline a course of action aimed at protecting, recovering, and restoring lost business functions and assets. These plans are closely related to disaster recovery plans, and the two terms are occasionally used interchangeably.
- Risk mitigation and management. Risk assessment, mitigation, and management are also closely related to business continuity management and disaster recovery. The ability to accurately assess risk is the first step towards developing appropriate response measures and prevention plans.
- Incident response and crisis management. Emergency response plans detail the actions to take immediately following an emergency situation, such as a natural disaster. How that response is handled can prevent injury or even save lives, which is why so many certifications – and hiring managers – insist that employees understand emergency response systems and best practices.
- Supply chain management and resilience. Supply chain management is another topic covered by certain certifications. Having a certification that covers this topic can be very useful for most business continuity professionals, and it may even be required by some organizations.
- Business continuity frameworks. Business continuity frameworks act as templates, or models, to develop response plans. Such models can focus on core activities, such as prevention, mitigation, and response. Or they may follow a process-oriented approach, such as plan-do-check-act.
- Introduction to national alert and incident management systems. Different governments will have different standards and systems in place for announcing national or local emergencies. Understanding what these systems are and how they operate is virtually required for any professional that is designing emergency response plans.
Naturally, the exact content of the course will vary from institution to institution.
Should I obtain a business continuity certification?
There are several benefits to obtaining a business continuity certification, such as:
- Improved knowledge and understanding of business continuity principles and best practices
- A well-rounded education that branches into other related disciplines, such as crisis management and disaster recovery
- Better career prospects
That being said, not all certifications are created equal and not all certifications cover the same content.
What are the best business continuity certifications?
A few of the most widely recognized certifications include:
- Certifications from the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), such as the CBCI certification
- Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRI) continuity certifications, such as the ABCP, CFCP, or the CBCP, each of which is designed for individuals with different levels of experience
- The EC-Council Disaster Recovery Professional (EDRP)
- Certified Disaster Recovery Engineer (CDRE)
- Courses from FEMA
The first three certifications tend to be the most widely sought after by hiring managers, since those certifications are issued by the most well-known and reputable business continuity institutions in the world.
Are there any other relevant certifications that can prove useful?
Other relevant courses can include:
- Change management certifications
- Project management certifications
- Certifications in disciplines related to the job in question
Each organization will have its own educational requirements, which will often depend on the nature of the position in question.
However, as mentioned above, certifications should not just be thought of as checklist items that can help one get hired – they provide fundamental information that is necessary to perform one’s duties successfully.
Given the stakes involved, business continuity professionals should invest heavily in their own education and training.