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Book Review: Adaptive Business Continuity

Adaptive Business Continuity: A New Approach. By David Lindsted and Mark Armour.Rothstein Publishing;; 190 pages, $39.99.

Occasionally, someone comes along with a new way to analyze security—challenging conventional wisdom and accepted best practices. This is the case with Adaptive Business Continuity: A New Approach by David Lindsted and Mark Armour.

This book places less emphasis on the documentation that traditional business continuity planning prescribes and focuses on understanding the needs and cultures of organizations—concentrating on internal dynamics of an organization as opposed to external threats. The authors argue that business impact analysis, risk assessment, testing, and training quickly become outdated and are not useful for business continuity planning. In fact, they question the usefulness of a traditional business continuity plan, stating that such plans are "too much effort for too little value."

The authors say that "...explicit executive support is not required." Senior management, they write, will allow the planning process to unfold without their blessing, downplaying the importance of senior-level support in obtaining the resources to effectively prepare an organization to deal  with crises.

Other novel ideas include "exercise instead of test" and "eliminate standalone training." The authors focus on being able to resume pre-event operations and neglect the impact of an event on organizational reputation, intellectual property, and other considerations.

Adaptive Business Continuity is an interesting, if incomplete, read and a thought-provoking approach to business continuity planning. Elements of this approach will help the business continuity planner, but the book minimizes some important concepts. It is also inconsistent. It challenges traditional best practices without attempting to replace them. Parts of its argument will be of interest to continuity planners, but overall, it does not advance the field.

Reviewer: Mayer Nudell, CSC, is an independent consultant on crisis management, contingency planning, and related issues and the publisher of the Traveler's World Threat Map. He is also an adjunct professor at Webster University and the coauthor of The Handbook for Effective Emergency and Crisis Management and No One a Neutral: Political Hostage-Taking in the Modern World.