Business Continuity Tip of the Month

What’s in a name?

In case you haven’t heard yet, the latest buzzword in business continuity circles is “resilience”.

And, as is so often the case when a new term or concept appears, no one seems to be able to agree on what “resilience” means.

Is it just the business continuity industry looking to re-package itself or is it something completely different?; Is it just the same old business continuity stuff with a new name, or is it something much bigger that happens to include business continuity management as one of its elements?; Is resilience a part of business continuity management or is it the other way round?; Is it just a way of getting the attention of senior people who have steadfastly refused to take an interest in business continuity management thus far?; Or is it merely an excuse for unscrupulous consultants to sell something that looks and sounds a bit different, or for standards institutions to launch yet more standards, along with the associated documents and audit fees?

Almost certainly it’s all of these things, depending on who you are and who you talk to. Let’s face it, the business continuity world can’t even agree on a common glossary of terms, an issue it’s been debating for decades now, so what chance is there of gaining a common agreement on what resilience means anytime soon?

And does it matter anyway, as long as we’re all working towards the common goal of making our organisations more resilient? Which probably includes elements of business continuity, IT continuity, risk management, supply chain resilience, compliance, information security, physical security, cyber security, crisis management and whatever else the organisation in question wants to include under the resilience banner.

As with many of the buzzwords, acronyms and terminology before it, the debate over what “resilience” means is set to rumble on for some time yet. In fact it’s likely that there will never be complete agreement from all interested parties. So in the meantime, perhaps those of us involved in the debate should refrain from spending too much time debating and focus on what we can do to make our organisations a bit more resilient. Whatever that means.