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How ready are you? This is the question that many organizations will be asked these days with the increasing threat of terrorism and disease pandemics, on whether they will be able to maintain their operations continuity in the face of such crisis.

With that, organizations are increasingly starting to self evaluate if they are able to restore critical functions in the event of a business disruption, should they be caught in such a situation one day. It would not only mean potential disruptions of day-to-day business, it would also mean loss of business opportunities or financial disaster, especially in today’s volatile economic climate.

As the Singapore Government recognizes that Singapore’s reputation as a Trusted Hub for reliable and quality services is at stake, the National Business Continuity Management (BCM) Programme was launched to support the early adoption of BCM to help businesses build capability for an effective response to disruptions. The $30 million initiative over five years aims to engage the private sector in building economic resilience and competitiveness through the attainment of BCM certification (Based on Singapore Standard SS540:2008 or the more recent ISO 22301:2012). Companies will be provided with a grant when they opt to set up a BCM system and obtain a BCM certification for their organization.

The New Standard – ISO 22301:2012

The ISO 22301:2012 standard for Societal Security – Business Continuity Management Systems, will phase out BS 25999 and SS 540 which are the equivalent BCM standards that are eligible for the grant. With the phasing out, it was decided that one of the most important pre-requisites for businesses to be able to make use of the grant provided, was to have organizations audited and certified by a certification body, which has been accredited by the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) for ISO 22301:2012.

SSC Singapore has identified the opportunity to gain the first-mover advantage, by ensuring that SGS is ready to certify companies against the new BCM standard, and immediately set out to work towards gaining the accreditation from Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC).

First in Singapore to Gain SAC Accreditation

After working closely with SAC, SSC Singapore finally gained accreditation from SAC to certify against the ISO 22301:2012 standard with accreditation from SAC in February 2013. Having attained the accreditation, SGS is thus the first certification body in Singapore to be able to audit and certify Singapore companies against this standard.

As the first certification body to audit and certify based on SAC accreditation, SGS conducted the first witness audit with NTUC Unity Healthcare, a provider of healthcare services with great success. A second audit was done with Pantropic Online Pte Ltd, a data protection and disaster recovery planning company. SGS has also subsequently certified various companies in other industries, i.e. Vindes Engineering Pte Ltd, JR Life Sciences Pte Ltd, Markono Print Media Pte Ltd, Kin Seng Heng Engineering Construction (Pte) Ltd. It is estimated that there will be a lot more companies scheduled to be audited and certified by SGS in the upcoming months.

ABOUT ISO 22301:2012 Standard for Societal Security – Business Continuity Management Systems

This International Standard for Business Continuity Management specifies requirements to plan, establish, implement, operate, monitor, review, maintain and continually improve a documented management system to protect against, reduce the likelihood of occurrence, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disruptive incidents when they arise. The requirements specified in this International Standard are applicable to all organisations, or parts thereof, regardless of type, size and nature of the organisation. The extent of application of these requirements depends on the organisation’s operating environment and complexity.