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Building an Enterprise-Wide Business Continuity Program

Building an Enterprise-Wide Business Continuity Program. By Kelley Okolita; published by Taylor & Francis, Inc.,; 344 pages; $82.95.

Many business-continuity discussions are theory-based. In other words, they convey the “what” and “why” of business continuity, but often lack real-world practical application. Right from the start, this author declares that she wants to provide readers with the knowledge and tools necessary to build a real-world enterprisewide business continuity program.

Chapter by chapter, the author lays out a practical foundation for constructing a program, and she does it in a way that even seasoned professionals will find illuminating. Following a logical progression from selling the program to management to defining a project plan, the author explores widely accepted risk management principles and backs them up with real-world experience.

As one might expect, topics such as identifying recovery strategies and documenting and testing business continuity plans get their fair share of coverage. But so do less familiar topics, such as the importance of communication and response even in situations that are not full-blown catastrophes. Another often overlooked point made by the author is that successful management of events is often done more with finesse than muscle.

The author spends an appropriate amount of time covering a concept that some in the profession have a hard time grasping: the transition from a continuity project to a continuity program, which is necessary for the ongoing support and maintenance of the program. Without this ongoing focus on continuous program improvement and maturity, the organization may declare its planning or support responsibilities “finished” when the project ends.

In addition to the real-life examples interspersed throughout the book, an entire chapter is devoted to lessons learned from real events. Another valuable component of the book is the variety of templates and other tools found in the appendix.

This book will serve as a reliable reference tool for everyone from beginners to advanced professionals. It may be particularly helpful, though, to someone either relatively new to the discipline or suddenly provided a “development opportunity” to build an enterprisewide business continuity program.

Reviewer: Brian Strong, CPP, CBCP (Certified Business Continuity Professional), is a business continuity planning consultant for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida. He is a member of ASIS International.