BS 25999

Produced by the British Standards Institution (BSI), BS 25999 is a Business Continuity Management (BCM) standard in two parts.


The first, "BS 25999-1:2006 Business Continuity Management. Code of Practice", takes the form of general guidance and seeks to establish processes, principles and terminology for Business Continuity Management.


The second, "BS 25999-2:2007 Specification for Business Continuity Management", specifies requirements for implementing, operating and improving a documented Business Continuity Management System (BCMS), describing only requirements that can be objectively and independently audited.


A useful means of understanding the difference between the two is Part 1 is a guidance document and uses the term 'should', Part 2 is an independently verifiable specification that uses the word 'shall'.


The contents of the code of practice (BS 25999-1) are as follows:


Section 1 - Scope and Applicability. This section defines the scope of the standard, making clear that it describes generic best practice that should be tailored to the organization implementing it

Section 2 - Terms and Definitions. This section describes the terminology and definitions used within the body of the standard

Section 3 - Overview of Business Continuity Management. A short overview is the subject of the standard. It is not meant to be a beginners guide but describes the overall processes, its relationship with risk management and reasons for an organization to implement along with the benefits

Section 4 - The Business Continuity Management Policy. Central to the implementation of business continuity is having a clear, unambiguous and appropriately resourced policy

Section 5 - BCM Programme Management. Programme management is at the heart of the whole BCM process and the standard defines an approach

Section 6 - Understanding the organization. In order to apply appropriate business continuity strategies and tactics the organization has to be fully understood, its critical activities, resources, duties, obligations, threats, risks and overall risk appetite.

Section 7 - Determining BCM Strategies. Once the organization is thoroughly understood the overall business continuity strategies can be defined that are appropriate.

Section 8 - Developing and implementing a BCM response. The tactical means by which business continuity is delivered. These include incident management structures, incident management and business continuity plans.

Section 9 - Exercising, maintenance, audit and self-assessment of the BCM culture. Without testing the BCM response an organization cannot be certain that they will meet their requirements. Exercise, maintenance and review processes will enable the business continuity capability to continue to meet the organizations goals.

Section 10 - Embedding BCM into the organizations culture. Business continuity should not exist in a vacuum but become part of the way that the organization is managed.

The contents of the specification (BS 25999-2) are as follows:


Section 1 - Scope. Defines the scope of the standard, the requirements for implementing and operating a documented business continuity management system (BCMS)

Section 2 - Terms and Definitions. This section describes the terminology and definitions used within the body of the standard

Section 3 - Planning the Business Continuity Management System (PLAN). Part 2 of the standard is predicated on the well established Plan-Do-Check-Act model of continuous improvement. The first step is to plan the BCMS, establishing and embedding it within the organization.

Section 4 - Implementing and Operating the BCMS (DO) Actually implement ones plans. This section includes a number of topics that are found in Part 1 although Part 1 should only be used for general guidance and information. Only what is in Part 2 can be assessed.

Section 5 - Monitoring and Reviewing the BCMS (CHECK) To ensure that the BCMS is continually monitored the Check stage covers internal audit and management review of the BCMS

Section 6 Maintaining and Improving the BCMS (ACT) To ensure that the BCMS is both maintained and improved on an ongoing basis this section looks at preventative and corrective action