I’ve recently been granted the immense honor of being recognized as a Master Business Continuity Professional by the Disaster Recovery Institute and will be inducted into the Order of the Sword and Shield (an American honor society for individuals in the fields of homeland security, intelligence, emergency management, and all protective security disciplines) next year at their international Conference.
The road leading up to this moment could by no means be considered smooth and consisted of a lot of other moments filled with blood, sweat, and tears. My education in business continuity started specifically with the continuity of operations and began when I enlisted in the United States Army in 2010.
The experience with procedural analysis and decision making that came from six years as an infantryman, and eventually a member-then-team leader of a sniper operations detachment, instilled a thought process that heavily focused on risk management and revolved around planning for resiliency through contingency operations. The need to protect and defend against events that would cause harm was ingrained into my personality through these experiences.
At the end of my second enlistment, after multiple deployments and all the experiences (good and bad) that go with it, I found myself in Montana working for a fantastic little cooperative known as Mid-Rivers Communications. This is where I was introduced to the Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI).
Mid-Rivers, recognizing the need for ensuring continued provision of services to its customers in rural Eastern Montana, regardless of what difficulties presented themselves, decided to conduct official in-house training for Business Continuity planning through DRI.
By this time, I had been assigned the position of Information Security Manager at the company and had attended numerous training events for cyber and information security, of which business continuity and disaster recovery is a very prevalent issue. With that, plus my experience from the military, I was very familiar with material. What stood out to me was the way it was packaged: DRI’s 10 Professional Practices of the Business Continuity Professional. It was a body of knowledge, specifically designed to assist in the development, implementation, and maintenance of business continuity programs. A thing to be used as a tool to help organizations prepare themselves to weather the storm.
At the end of the training, we were given an exam to test knowledge learned, and due to mapping my experience to the professional practices I was granted their CBCP – I was a Certified Business Continuity Professional. Now, I’ve always been the kind of person that wants to know more and loves a challenge, and at this point I had nearly 8 years of experience with Business Continuity.
So, after another year of working with Mid-Rivers in developing our business continuity plan, chairing the Technology Committee for disaster recovery, and countless additional hours of pouring over case studies and lessons learned from other businesses and mentors on my own and at conferences, I decided it was time to test myself against DRI’s Master Case Study Review. After two days of intense review, I was given a case study and asked to develop a high-level continuity plan for it with some specific requirements.
I was nervous at first, I always am whenever I take exams. Even after somewhere in the ballpark of 25 in the last 3 years and regardless of how much I’ve prepared, I still get that spike of adrenaline when I first sit down. But I soon found myself settled into that calm of procedural problem solving.
In the end, I submitted work that I felt confident was a good representation of my knowledge and experience given the scenario (whether it would end up being accepted or not), and the results of my review would point me in the right direction. About a week later, I received an email that I had achieved a passing review and a couple days after that I was officially certified as a Master Business Continuity Professional.
So, this could probably be a blog post in and of itself, but reading this you might be wondering: What is an MBCP, DRI, or Business Continuity?
What is BC and why is it important -
It’s important to know first what Business Continuity is, to provide context for anyone unfamiliar of the value of having a plan, and the importance of what DRI is doing to not only the business world but society.
The National Fire Protection Association describes business continuity as “An ongoing process to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to identify the impact of potential losses and maintain viable recovery strategies, recovery plans, and continuity of services.”
Planning for Business Continuity, in the simplest of descriptions, is really a matter of asking, the sometimes hard: “What if?”
What will my business do if we lose power for an extended period? How long can my business go without electricity before the loss of productivity is unrecoverable? Are there manual workarounds available? Do my employees know how to use them? What if there is a fire? What if one of my employees is injured? Does every one of my employees know their responsibilities and what to do in the case of such an event? What happens if my vendor can no longer supply critical materials or services I need to conduct my business? How long can I go without a resupply?
As you can imagine, these are threads that can be pulled and pulled. And the purpose of walking through this line of thought starts to become self-evident. Business Continuity planning is about figuring out the bad things that can happen to your organization, discovering vulnerabilities in how you operate, and developing ways to ensure your survival of such adverse events.
What is DRI and the MBCP -
Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRI) is the nonprofit that helps organizations around the world prepare for and recover from disasters by providing education, accreditation, and thought leadership in business continuity and related fields. - https://drii.org/
The Master Business Continuity Professional (MBCP) is DRI’s highest level of certification for continuity. It distinguishes those with superior knowledge and significant experience in the Business Continuity profession. While they are required to have broad business continuity experience, in most cases these professionals possess much more than the requisite knowledge. These professionals hold a vast scope of comprehension and guide their practices, departments or company with a high level of skill and expertise. - https://drii.org/certification/mbcp