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According to the ISO Survey, there’s been a 82.9% increase in worldwide ISO 22301 certificates issued following 2020.

Business Continuity is a must have for businesses who want to ensure long-term survivability following a disruptive event. Many turn to ISO 22301 to help put a framework in place, including today’s guest – Lifelong Learner.

However, what usually takes businesses a minimum of 6 months, Lifelong Learner managed to accomplish in just 4 months across an international organisation! That is no small part due to the tremendous effort of Lifelong Learner’s Manager of Information Security, Governance, Risk and Compliance, Lauren Taylor.

Lauren joins Mel on this weeks’ episode to share her journey and explains the challenges associated with implementing a Business Continuity Management System in just 4 months.

You’ll learn

  • Who are Lifelong Learner?
  • Why did they decide to Implement ISO 22301?
  • What did they learn from implementing ISO 22301?
  • What was the biggest challenge with Implementation?
  • What are the benefits of implementing ISO 22301?

Resources

In this episode, we talk about:

[00:30] Join the isologyhub – To get access to a suite of ISO related tools, training and templates. Simply head on over to isologyhub.com to either sign-up or book a demo.

[02:05] Episode summary: Today Mel is joined by guest Lauren Taylor who is the Manager of Information Security, Governance, Risk and Compliance at Lifelong Learner Holdings LLC.

Lifelong Learner and it’s brands represent a fusion of comprehensive workforce solutions, with a human-first focus of changing lives through assessment. This includes helping people advance in educational and career aspirations, earning or maintaining licensing or certifications, or providing the tools to develop future leaders.

Lauren has helped Lifelong Learner accomplish a massive milestone, and that’s the implementation of the Business Continuity Standard ISO 22301 across an international organisation, which she managed to do in just 4 months! She’s here to share her journey and lessons learned from implementing ISO 22301.

[03:30] Not many people know this about Lauren  – She had previously trained to be a mental health counsellor.

[04:05] Who are Lifelong Learner LLC? – Lifelong Learner is the parent company of two subsidiaries:

PSI Testing Excellence: a leading provider of assessment solutions for the licensing and certification markets, to Educational Testing Services.

Talogy: A market leader in the talent management space whose core purpose is helping organizations achieve their potential. They manage the talent management side of the business. So what they’ll do is they’ll put together psychometric tests that help companies find the right person for the right job, and will assist with skills development.

[05:00] Adding to Lifelong Learner’s ISO Collection: Lifelong Learner already have an impressive ISO Library, being certified to:

  • ISO 9001 – Quality Management
  • ISO 14001 – Environmental Management
  • ISO 27001 – Information Security Management

[05:20] What was the main driver behind obtaining ISO 22301? – The main driver, as with most companies, is usually a client contractor requirement, but business continuity has been something that we’ve wanted to look further into for a while, just because there’s elements of ISO 27001 that cover the business continuity.

While we were able to get through the audits with what we had, we just felt that it just needed a little bit more building out. Business Continuity is a requirement in part of ISO 27001, but for Stakeholders that want assurance that a business has robust business continuity plans in place, ISO 22301 is the next step.

[06:10] The Implementation Timeline  – In October 2023, we began with the context workshop where we could kind of get a better idea of the scope of the management system.

This was followed by a number of SWOT and PESTLE workshops to help identify what the perceived risks would be.

Next came the Business Impact Analysis (BIA) – So essentially what you’re needing to find out from these workshops is, the core activities that each of the teams perform on the day-to-day basis. You also need to understand what their systems are that they use, if they have any dependencies, and essentially it all comes down to understanding that if the business cannot perform those activities, what would be the impact overtime if those activities were to stop.

Once you have all that information, the next step was to map it across into a risk assessment, which really helps you to understand the granular risks to your business when it comes to business continuity planning.

This risk assessment helped to highlight some weaknesses that we hadn’t considered before, and gave us a point in the right direction as to what we needed to work on to bridge those gaps.

Next was the creation and revamping of documentation inline with ISO 22301 requirements. Thankfully, due to the other ISO’s we hold, we already had a lot in place. Same goes for Internal Audits, so this was more a case of integrating ISO 22301 into our existing Management System.

Once we had all the documentation, we conducted a ransomware test exercise, which we also documented all the findings from. Then we were we were ready for stage 1!

[09:15] What were the biggest gaps Lifelong Leaner needed to address?: Following the BIA and Risk Assessment, we were able to see where we needed response plans because business continuity is always your Plan B. So in our minds, we had an idea of what kind of response plans we would need in terms of i.e. a malware response plan, a ransomware response plan, those sorts of things. But until we actually looked at the BIA we released we needed a few more.

[10:25] What difference did addressing those gaps make? – For us it was understanding the real risks to our business.

We already had ISO 27001 in place, and we figured if there were to be another pandemic for example, that we’d be covered. However, it wasn’t until we did those exercises did we realise that there was a lot we could improve on.  

[13:25] What did Lauren learn from Implementing ISO 22301? – How much people underestimate the importance of a good business impact analysis.

After going through this in a very, very short space of time, I realised that it is actually the driving force behind a good business continuity management system.

Also, it highlighted just how many people believe business continuity is just all about IT and physical security, they completely loft out the human element.

An example of this is having a single point of failure, which is where if somebody left there would be a gap.

[14:40] What benefits have Lifelong Learner experienced since implementing ISO 22301? – Lauren has noticed that more clients are requesting to see their Business Continuity Plans.

It’s helped with the introduction of the latest ISO 27001:2022 controls – as these too also focus on elements of business continuity.

[15:50] Lauren’s top tips for implementing ISO 22301 – Definitely give yourself longer than 4 months!

Logically think about how everything links together, the clauses all have purpose and flow in a logical pattern to help create a Management System.

Your Management Review can be your best friend. It’s your opportunity to really engage with senior management and help them understand what your risks are to the business, how your internal audit is coming along, how you manage your nonconformities and it can be all neatly wrapped up in that nice management review bow.

[18:00] Lauren’s book recommendation – The Matthew Perry Autobiography, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.

[19:30] Lauren’s favorite quote – “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”

If You’d like to learn more about Lifelong Learner, check out their website.

If you’d like to book a demo for the isologyhub, simply contact us and we’d be happy to give you a tour.

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