Irwin Mitchell aims for BS25999 business continuity certification


Irwin Mitchell aims for BS25999 business continuity certification

Warwick Ashford

Law firm Irwin Mitchell plans to be among the first organisations to attain formal certification under a British Standard for business continuity.

The firm said it was responding to an increasing demand from corporate clients for business continuity assurances for their business partners.

"It is one thing to say you have business continuity plans in place, but to have them externally and independently audited and certified against current best practice, that is what clients are really interested in," said Gary Thomas, head of IT operations at Irwin Mitchell.

The British Standards Institute, which developed the BS25999 standard, is due to publish its certification requirements later this month. The first accreditations are expected in mid 2008.

Irwin Mitchell is consulting with SunGard Availability Services in preparation for certification, but Peter Sloane, business improvement manager at Irwin Mitchell, said most of the groundwork was already done as the firm had used the initial specification of the standard and the later code of practice to develop its disaster recovery plan.

"This made us look at our incident management plans, which involved assessing possible disasters, which led to formalising our business continuity plans, including training, testing exercises, and improving existing back-up and recovery systems to support it," he said.

He said that although certification would require more testing, training and documenting, a successful implementation during the June floods proved that the plan and the principles of the standard were sound.

The ground floor of Irwin Mitchell's Sheffield office was flooded, but the firm set up a makeshift call centre and relocated to SunGard's recovery centre to enable the firm to continue business as usual the next day.

potential bs25999 benefits

● Improved operations management

● Lower insurance premiums

● Increased confidence in the business

● Demonstrates care of employees

● Helps safeguard the reputation of the company

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