What is the ISO 22301 certification and why should you obtain it?

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With the relentless increase of cyber-attacks, IT failures, supply chain challenges and workforce availability, organizations need to develop their ability to maintain operations to ensure their long-term survival and success.

What is ISO 22301, and why has it become so coveted by many organizations? Read on to find out more about this international standard and certification.

Definition of ISO 22301

ISO 22301 is an international standard for implementing and maintaining a Business Continuity Management System (BCMS) to help organizations ensure business continuity.

ISO 22301 provides a comprehensive framework, including several requirements for implementing a robust business continuity program, depending on the scale and type of impact the organization may or may not be able to accept following a disruption.

This framework can also be used to assess an organization's ability to meet its own compliance needs and business continuity obligations, depending on its business environment.

First published in 2012 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ISO 22301 has been revised in 2019 to better meet the changing needs of the field and deliver increased value to professionals. Its full name is ISO 22301, Security and resilience - Business continuity management systems.

ISO22301 Certification

Benefits of the ISO 22301 certification

To prove their compliance with the proposed criteria, organizations can obtain the ISO 22301 certification, one of the world's most widely recognized business continuity certifications.  

Here are 5 reasons why your organization should pursue the ISO 22301 certification:

  1. The ISO 22301 certification is an independent, objective assessment that enables internal and external stakeholders to give credence to your state of readiness.
  2. Certification enables you to meet current legal requirements and compliance standards.
  3. Certification helps you demonstrate that your business is being managed effectively and will continue to do so in the event of a disruption.
  4. The certification enables you to reduce the burden of external audits on your customers.
  5. The process of obtaining and maintaining certification ensures that you continually improve and refine your continuity activities.

In short, business continuity certification increases your organizational resilience in the face of multiple risks, challenges and potential disruptions.

Who is ISO 22301 for?

ISO 22301 is aimed at all organizations, regardless of their size, sector or activities, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, private or public.

More specifically, ISO 22301 is for any organization wishing to:

  • Implement, maintain and improve their BCMS
  • Ensure compliance with its industry
  • Deliver products and services at a predefined acceptable capacity in the event of interruption
  • Improve resilience through the effective application of BCMS

Within the organization, ISO 22301 is aimed at business continuity risk management professionals, supply chain managers, audit partners and managers, corporate social responsibility report writers, regulators, and any other stakeholder involved or interested in business continuity.

ISO 22301 certification process for organizations

The ISO 22301 certification process comprises several key stages, which may vary according to your organization and its activities, as well as your current level of preparation.

Step 1 - Conduct an initial assessment or internal audit

To achieve the ISO 22301 certification, start by carrying out an initial assessment or an internal audit to measure your compliance with the requirements of ISO 22301. This assessment is the first step in determining the degree of compliance with the requirements, and identifying the resources needed to fully satisfy the defined requirements.

If you don’t already have business continuity program in place, you will first need to carry out a risk analysis to identify potential threats to your business. You will then be in a better position to develop a business continuity plan and implement appropriate measures to mitigate the risks.

Step 2 - Draw up an action plan to close the gaps

Depending on your initial assessment, you may need to make additions or modifications to your program. Define the specific actions to be taken, the resources required and the deadlines for achieving compliance.

Step 3 - Conduct a certification audit

Contact an external certification body to carry out an ISO 22301 certification audit. The certification body will assess whether your BCMS fully complies with the requirements of ISO 22301.

The ISO organization itself does not carry out certifications or conformity assessments. Contact us to be put in touch with a certification body in your area to carry out your certification audit.  

Step 4 - Get your ISO 22301 certification

Once your BCMS has been judged compliant with the requirements of ISO 22301, you will finally receive your official certification. This confirms that your organization has established a business continuity management system that complies with international standards.

Finally, don't forget that ISO 22301 is a contained process, and that ISO 22301 certification is valid for a period of three (3) years. You will need to keep a constant eye on the improvement and evolution of your BCMS.

A few tips for before achieving the ISO 22301 certification

Familiarize yourself with the standard's requirements

Take the time to fully understand the requirements of ISO 22301. Read the text of the standard carefully and study the clauses and fundamental principles. You can also take the ISO 22301: Lead Auditor course or the ISO 22301: Lead Implementer course, to develop a clear vision of the expectations and objectives to be achieved.

Get your management's support

Make sure you have the support of your organization's senior management and that you can count on their involvement throughout the ISO 22301 implementation process. Their active commitment and financial support are key to the success of your project.

Establish a clear action plan

Develop a detailed action plan for implementing your business continuity management system. Identify key milestones, responsibilities and deadlines for each activity. Make sure your action plan is realistic, achievable and tailored to your organization.

Get guidance from certified experts

To prepare effectively for the ISO 22301 certification, it's essential to set up appropriate processes and to document your BCMS clearly and concisely. You can facilitate your certification by working with professionals have been through the process before and who already have their ISO 22301: Lead Auditor or ISO 22301: Implementation. These professionals have acquired and demonstrated a deep understanding of business continuity management programs and practices, as well as a comprehensive study of the appropriate audit requirements for ISO 22301.

We have several ISO 22301 Lead Auditors certified consultants in our team to support you on your certification journey. Premier Continuum itself has been an ISO 22301-certified organization since 2013.
ISO22301 Certification

Accelerate your 22301 certification with business continuity software like ParaSolution

Measure your level of compliance, optimize your program and achieve the ISO 22301 certification with ICOR's integrated self-assessment tool and self-declaration of conformity process. ParaSolution is a world-renowned business continuity automation software from major institutions such as Gartner and the Business Continuity Institute. Our consultants sit on technical committees and help ParaSolution's capabilities evolve in symbiosis. Find out more about ParaSolution here.

Ready to begin the ISO 22301 certification process?

The ISO 22301 certification process may seem complex, but with the right preparation it's entirely achievable.

Starting by familiarizing yourself with ISO 22301 is an excellent opportunity to strengthen your organization's activities and foster a culture of resilience.

To find out which organizations offer the ISO 22301 certification, contact our team.