Clause 7.4 of ISO 22301 is titled "Communication" and is an essential part of an organization's Business Continuity Management System (BCMS). This clause specifies the requirements for effective communication during disruptive incidents within the organization and with external parties. In ISO 22301, communication is exchanging information and ideas between individuals or groups. Communication is crucial during a disruption because it helps ensure everyone knows the situation and has the information they need to respond appropriately.
ISO 22301 requires organizations to establish communication procedures that enable timely and effective communication during a disruption. These procedures should include clear communication channels, escalation processes, and guidelines for communication with stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, and regulatory bodies. The communication procedures should also define the roles and responsibilities of those involved in communication and any necessary training or awareness-raising activities.
Definition of communication
In ISO 22301, communication is defined as exchanging information and messages to facilitate the operation of the business continuity management system (BCMS) and to support the effective response and recovery from disruptions. Effective communication is a critical element of a successful BCMS, as it helps to ensure that stakeholders are informed and able to make informed decisions during a disruption.
ISO 22301 recommends that organizations establish a communication strategy that includes identifying communication needs, defining communication channels, and establishing communication procedures. This strategy should enable effective communication with all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, regulators, and other interested parties. The system should also consider the unique communication requirements that may arise during a disruption, such as timely and accurate information, alternative communication channels, and managing rumours and misinformation.
Types of Communication
ISO 22301 is a standard for business continuity management, and clause 7.4 specifically addresses communication during a disruption. The types of contact identified in this clause are as follows:
- Internal Communication: This type of communication occurs within an organization and involves sharing information between departments or teams. It can help ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the disruption, impact, and response plan.
- External Communication: This type involves sharing information with external stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, regulatory bodies, and other parties. It can help manage stakeholders’ expectations and maintain their organizational confidence.
- Vertical Communication: This type of communication involves sharing information up and down the organizational hierarchy. It ensures that senior management is aware of the situation and can make informed decisions while ensuring that front-line employees understand their roles and responsibilities.
- Horizontal Communication: This type of communication involves sharing information between different parts of the organization at the same hierarchy level. It can help coordinate the response effort and ensure everyone works together effectively.
- Formal Communication: This type follows established protocols and channels, such as email, memos, or meetings. It ensures that information is disseminated in a consistent and organized manner.
- Informal Communication: This type of communication occurs through informal channels, such as conversations in the hallway or over the phone. It can help build relationships and foster collaboration between different parts of the organization.
By addressing these different types of communication, an organization can improve its ability to manage disruption and minimize its impact on operations.
How to understand the communication
ISO 22301 focuses on Business Continuity Management System (BCMS). Clause 7.4 of the standard deals with communication, highlighting the importance of effective communication during a disruption to ensure timely response and recovery. To understand the communication requirements outlined in ISO 22301 clause 7.4, you should consider the following:
- Identify the relevant stakeholders: The first step in effective communication is identifying the stakeholders who must be informed during a disruption. This includes employees, customers, suppliers, regulators, and other key stakeholders who may be impacted.
- Determine the communication methods: Once you have identified the stakeholders, you must determine each group's most effective communication methods. This could include email, phone calls, text messages, social media, and other means of communication.
- Establish communication protocols: ISO 22301 requires organizations to establish communication protocols that specify who will communicate with whom, when, and how. This includes establishing communication channels, roles, responsibilities, and escalation procedures.
- Test and review communication plans: It's essential to test and review your communication plans regularly to ensure they remain effective and up to date. This includes conducting mock drills and exercises to simulate disruptions and test communication protocols.
Overall, effective communication is essential to ensuring business continuity during a disruption. ISO 22301 clause 7.4 guides how organizations can establish and maintain effective communication protocols to ensure timely response and recovery.
What are the Benefits of Communication?
ISO 22301 is a standard that focuses on business continuity management. Clause 7.4 of the standard discusses communication during a business disruption or continuity incident. The benefits of effective communication in ISO 22301 clause 7.4 are:
- Timely response: Effective communication ensures that all relevant parties are informed of the incident and can respond promptly. This helps minimise the incident’s impact and speed up the recovery process.
- Clear understanding: Clear communication ensures that everyone understands the nature of the incident, its potential impact, and the steps needed to manage the situation. This helps to prevent confusion and misunderstandings, which can lead to further disruption.
- Coordinated response: Effective communication enables all parties to coordinate their response to the incident, ensuring that efforts are aligned, and duplication of effort is minimized. This can help to ensure that resources are used efficiently and effectively.
- Stakeholder management: Clear and effective communication ensures that all stakeholders are informed of the incident, its impact, and the steps to manage it. This can help to maintain stakeholder confidence and minimize any reputational damage.
- Lessons learned: Effective communication ensures that all relevant parties are informed of the incident and the steps to manage it. This can provide valuable insights that can be used to improve future incident management processes.
Overall, effective communication is critical to the success of business continuity management and can help organizations minimize the impact of incidents, reduce the time to recovery, and maintain stakeholder confidence.
How to get Started with Communication
Clause 7.4 of ISO 22301 focuses on communication within a business continuity management system (BCMS). To get started with communication in ISO 22301, follow these steps:
- Identify relevant stakeholders: The first step is identifying all the stakeholders who must be communicated with during a business disruption. This includes employees, customers, suppliers, partners, regulatory bodies, and others the disruption may impact.
- Determine communication channels: Determine each stakeholder group's most effective communication channels. This may include email, phone, SMS, social media, or other communication channels.
- Develop communication procedures: Develop procedures that outline how communication will take place during a disruption. These procedures should include who will be responsible for communicating with each stakeholder group, what information must be shared, and how often communication will occur.
- Test communication procedures: Test the communication procedures to ensure they are effective, and all stakeholders can be reached during a disruption. This can be done through tabletop exercises or simulation drills.
- Document communication processes: Document all communication processes, including procedures and results, to ensure they can be reviewed and improved upon in the future.
- Continuously improve communication: Continuously review and improve communication processes to ensure they remain effective and meet the organisation's and its stakeholders' changing needs.
By following these steps, an organization can establish effective communication processes that support its business continuity management system and ensure that all stakeholders are informed and involved during a disruption.
In conclusion, effective communication is essential to a BCMS, and ISO 22301 provides a framework for organizations to develop and implement a communication plan that meets the standard's requirements. By having a well-defined communication plan, organizations can minimize the impact of disruptions and maintain their critical business functions.