BCM certification roadmap for the data center pro

Today there's much demand for business continuity management (BCM) skillsets. So a BCM certification will help if you are interested in making an entry.

As more business gets outsourced to India, organizations that can continue to deliver services at the agreed levels (continuity) and without fail (repeatability) will continue to thrive. This is why many of these companies are now looking for experienced people with business continuity management (BCM) certification.

In India, it is the MNCs which mostly hire such BCM certified professionals, since the parent company demands compliance with standards and customer requirements. "BCM is the solution for organizations that want to continue delivering their key products and services even during a disaster, and survive thereafter. This gives rise to the demand for certified professionals," explains R Vaidhyanathan, the practice head of BCM at Business Continuity Management Institute (BCMI).

Many organizations in India have got themselves certified as BS 25999-compliant. Hence there's demand for professionals who are BS 25999 Lead Auditors and Implementers.
Rajesh Nair
Vice President - Business ContinuityCredit Suisse India

As in any other field, BCM also demands that employers distinguish between different levels of experience and types of specialist skills. "For those who want to make a career in BCM, having a recognized professional qualification in the form of a BCM certification will certainly help," says Arnab Mukherjee, the business continuity planning manager at Colt Technology Services, a Fidelity International group company. Mukherjee is a Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP), and an Associate Member of the Business Continuity Institute (AMBCI).

Institutes offering BCM certification     

At the moment, there are just a couple of options when it comes to BCM certifications. "You need to be associated with the Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII) or Business Continuity Institute (BCI) to qualify as a professional in BCM," says Mukherjee. BCMI is yet another option that you can look at. However, Mukherjee points out the fact that BCMI does not have global recognition.

DRII, a US-based organization, offers BCM certifications such as Associate Business Continuity Professional (ABCP), CBCP, and Master Business Continuity Professional (MBCP). It also offers a BCM certification for vendors, the Certified Business Continuity Vendor (CBCV). The BCI, a UK-based organization, offers BCM certifications such as AMBCI, Specialist Member of the Business Continuity Institute (SBCI), and Member of the Business Continuity Institute (MBCI). "Both DRII and BCI cover the same domains, but there is a slight change in the sequencing of activities. Generally, it is seen that DRII certifications are more sought after," says Rajesh R Nair, Vice President, Business Continuity, Credit Suisse India. On the same front, BCMI (headquartered in Singapore), offers BC Certified Planner (BCCP), BC Certified Specialist (BCCS), BC Certified Expert (BCCE), DR Certified Specialist (DRCS), DR Certified Expert (DRCE), BC Certified Auditor (BCCA) and BC Certified Lead Auditor (BCCLA).

How to get a BCM certification

The 10domains covered in a BCM certification are program initiation and management, risk evaluation and control, business impact analysis, business continuity strategies, emergency response and operations, business continuity plans, awareness and training programs, business continuity plan exercises, audit and maintenance, and crisis communications and coordination with external agencies.

A BCM certification from DRII requires eligibility using the following criteria.

  • ABCP certification requires that you show entry-level proficiency in professional practices with less than two years' experience in the field. This is the entry-level certification. To progress to a higher offering, you must complete an application for certification. An additional exam is not needed.
  • CBCP necessitates that you demonstrate knowledge and working experience of more than two years. You must be able to demonstrate practical experience in five of the professional practice subject matter areas.
  • The MBCP is reserved for individuals who have demonstrated knowledge and working experience of more than five years. They must be able to demonstrate practical experience in seven of the professional practice subject matter areas.
  • For the CBCV you must demonstrate knowledge of professional practices, and have more than two years' experience as a vendor in the field.

To get a BCM certification from the BCI, the following eligibility criteria should be met.

  • AMBCI requires that you hold a BCI Certificate (CBCI) and demonstrate one year's experience working within BCM.  
  • The SBCI requires that you hold CBCI at 'Pass' or 'Pass with Merit' level, and demonstrate two years' full-time experience as a specialist practitioner either in BCM or a related discipline. You must also be able to prove professional membership of or certification by a relevant professional body in an associated discipline.
  • For the MBCI, in addition to holding a CBCI at the 'Pass with Merit' level, you need to demonstrate practical application of your knowledge by submitting a further professional application form which will be scored by a panel of peers appointed by the BCI's membership council. You will also have to show three years' full-time experience as a business continuity practitioner.

OtherBCM certifications include the BS 25999 Lead Auditor and BS 25999 Lead Implementer certifications based on the BS 25999 standard which is a British standard for business continuity. The standard is popular since it allows an organization to certify itself to it. "Many organizations in India have already got themselves certified as BS 25999-compliant, hence there's demand for professionals who are BS 25999 Lead Auditors and Implementers. These professionals play a critical role to guide and implement this standard within the organization," says Nair.

Remuneration after getting a BCM certification

The compensation package for a BCM certification holder depends on the person's experience and his role in the organization. For instance, a business continuity planning (BCP) manager who has more than 10 years of experience as well as BCM certifications, will be a real-time crisis manager. He will help the organization to recover from a real incident and co-ordinate with various cross-functional teams. His starting salary is typically in the range between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 25 lakh. A certified BCP team member who plays a role in aspects like documentation and audits will draw starting salaries between Rs 8 lakh and Rs 15 lakh.

Read more on Disaster recovery