Asia plays catch-up with basic business continuity training

Business Continuity Management Institute launches six new certification programs aimed at growing the region's expertise in business continuity and disaster recovery.

SINGAPORE--A slew of certification programs was launched today to train professionals across six countries in Asia in business continuity and disaster recovery management.

Singapore-based Business Continuity Management Institute (BCMI) unveiled six new certification programs aimed to "set a career path" for professionals in the area of business continuity, said Goh Moh Heng, executive director of BCMI.

Goh was speaking at the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signing ceremony between the institute and several industry players including the Singapore Business Federation, which will conduct the courses in the island-state, and the China Business Continuity Management Professional Committee, which will conduct the courses in China.

"As the world globalizes, the demand for business continuity management and disaster recovery becomes a prerequisite for us in Asia," Goh said.

"However, we are about 15 to 20 years behind what Europe and the United States are [currently] experiencing," he said. Business continuity management is a "very developed profession" in the two regions, where it has been around for the last three decades, Goh noted.

Asia is currently facing a shortage of professionals well-versed in running BC plans, he said, noting that there "so many [job] vacancies in business continuity planning right now".

"We do not have enough people [with experience ranging] from one to five years," Goh explained. He added that even though there are professionals with between eight and 15 years of experience, the region lacks a pool of professionals that form the "base" of the business continuity workforce.

"That becomes a challenge for us because in order for this profession to move forward, we need this training to take place," he added.

Current certification too high-level
Although BC professionals in Asia can study for the Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP) certification, it is typically awarded only to the top three to five BC practitioners in a large organization, representing only about five percent of the business continuity team, said Goh.

Accredited by U.S.-based Disaster Recovery Institute, the CBCP is one of three recognized business continuity certification in Asia. Goh explained: "[The] certification requires years of experience and training to attain."

According to Steven Sobak, COO of SingHeath Group, today's launch of the BCMI's six programs, entry-level professionals entering the business continuity market will now be able to receive formal training from the "first level".

"Business continuity is a mission critical operation…and the BCMI certifications are a great way to establish a formal training process for staff at all levels with business continuity responsibilities," Sobak said in a statement.

The six certification programs include:

1. Business Continuity Certified Planner (BCCP);
2. Business Continuity Certified Specialist (BCCS);
3. Business Continuity Certified Expert (BCCE);
4. Disaster Recovery Certified Specialist (DRCS);
5. Disaster Recovery Certified Expert (DRCE); and
6. Business Continuity Certified Foundation (BCCF) for students.

With the exception of the foundation-level program--available only to students at Singapore's Temasek Polytechnic--the other five programs will be available in several countries across Asia and a country in the Middle East. These include Singapore, Malaysia, India, China, Thailand and Bahrain, Goh said.

The programs are expected to commence in May this year.