Ensure Business Continuity with ISO 22301

Find out what ISO 22301 is, its importance, which organizations and industries can benefit from it, and how obtaining ISO 22301 certification could positively affect your business.


What is ISO 22301?

ISO 22301:2019 is the business continuity management (BCM) standard developed by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO). The standard sets a framework that organizations can adopt to better prepare for, prevent, and develop protocols in the event of a disaster.

Many industries require organizations to show their clients and stakeholders that they can continuously provide them with premium-level services. This includes storing backups of critical data and having measures in place to minimize the loss in the event of a disaster, natural or otherwise.

There are many laws in areas worldwide that require certain businesses and industries to have a contingency plan for emergencies. As such, ISO 22301 could be critical for any business or organization legally required to develop a protocol and plan in case of disasters.

What is the Purpose of ISO 22301?

Many businesses and organizations are vulnerable to natural disasters. These events could potentially get in the way of the organization delivering its services. ISO 22301 business continuity management can guide an organization in developing its strategy, protocol, and controls in place to prevent disasters and minimize damage.

The standard provides a solid framework that organizations can use to better develop and implement a BCM plan for the organization. That way, the organization shows stakeholders that they are prepared for such events and can still deliver the required service in case of these events.

Certain industries require organizations to be able to consistently deliver their services in the event of a disaster. ISO 22301 certification can show stakeholders that the organization has such controls and measures in place to give them assurance of the company’s resiliency.


There are numerous ways to obtain ISO 22301 certification or develop a business continuity management strategy around the framework that can benefit a business. Some of these benefits include:

Proves Compliance

As mentioned earlier, some industries require organizations operating in the industry to develop a BCM strategy and protocol. Numerous localities worldwide will require the implementation of a BCM by law, so obtaining ISO 22301 certification could be critical in legitimizing the organization.

Additionally, some organizations may not be allowed to legally operate without the certification. So, obtaining ISO 22301 certification could be vital to an organization’s ability to operate within the law.

Demonstrates Resiliency

For many organizations, showing their clients and stakeholders that they are resilient and can withstand certain events and disasters without ceasing operations is a critical part of their business. A great way to show potential stakeholders that an organization is resilient is by obtaining ISO 22301 certification.

This is the standard for business continuity management. So, organizations with this certification have built a BCM strategy around the ISO 22301 framework, which is the international standard for BCM.

Provides Marketing Advantages

Obtaining ISO 22301 certification could open up many opportunities for an organization. There are certain procurement specifications that have ISO 22301 certification as a prerequisite to sealing the deal.

Additionally, ISO 22301 is an internationally recognized standard. This means that obtaining this certification will give you more credibility worldwide, not just within your locality.

Improves Risk Management

All industries face a certain level of risk. However, there are some industries wherein organizations must develop comprehensive strategies for risk management to allow them to continuously offer their services to their clientele and stakeholders.

On top of that, developing a BCM strategy can help reduce the damage the organization may incur in the event of a disaster or emergency. Not only does this give customers and clients peace of mind, but it can also help minimize the damage the organization sustains in worst-case scenarios.

How It Works

ISO 22301 is a multi-faceted and comprehensive approach to business continuity management. It involves the identification of potential threats if a disaster occurs. On top of that, it also involves developing a plan to prepare for different threats, developing protocols on what to do if it happens, and looking for ways to mitigate certain risks in the event of a disaster.

This can look different for every organization. Some may require large data backups, while others may need physical controls in place to minimize damage if a natural disaster occurs.

The process starts with getting everyone on the team on board for obtaining certification. From there, the organization needs to identify threats, do a risk assessment, develop a comprehensive BCM plan, and then dedicate time and resources to educate and train the employees, ensuring that everyone in the organization understands the BCM strategy, policy, and protocol.

How Do You Obtain ISO 22301 Certification?

To obtain ISO 22301 certification, you must submit the appropriate documents before the deadline, which can vary from year to year. The first step in certification is usually a gap analysis. This is optional, but it allows you to view any area where you’re lacking and could get in the way of your certification before you apply.

From there, it’s important to check the business’ business continuity management system against the ISO 22301 guidelines and framework. It’s important to ensure that the BCM system is up to the standard to ensure that the organization obtains the certification.

Once an organization finds that its BCM strategy adheres to the ISO 22301 guidelines, it may apply for certification. Upon approval of their application, the organization receives the certificate, which is valid for three years.

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Challenges in Implementation

When implementing the BCM strategy based on ISO 22301, organizations can run into some challenges. On top of that, getting the entire organization on board for applying for the certification in the first place may be tough.

It can take time and resources to develop a BCM strategy. On top of that, developing the strategy requires organizations to conduct a proper assessment and audit of their business. This process will involve checking the current protocols and controls in place within the organization and checking if it’s up to par with the ISO 22301 framework.

It’s important to check your BCM strategy thoroughly when applying for and implementing ISO 22301 in an organization. This requires some resources and a fair amount of time, but it’s necessary for organizations looking to prepare themselves for different scenarios.

FAQs about ISO 22301

ISO 22301 was revised in 2019, and ISO 22301:2019 is now the internationally recognized standard over ISO 22301:2012. These two standards maintain similar goals, objectives, and even clauses. However, the revised standard allows for a bit more flexibility in developing a BCM that works for a specific organization.

There are 10 clauses in ISO 22301 which include:

  • Scope
  • Normative references
  • Terms and definitions
  • Context of the organization
  • Leadership
  • Planning
  • Support
  • Operation
  • Performance evaluation
  • Improvement

ISO 22301 applies to any organization that requires a contingency plan by law. This can vary depending on the organization’s location and local regulations. However, some industries that may require ISO 22301 certification include healthcare, energy, transport, and other essential public services.

There are only a few specific industries that require ISO 22301 certification. And in most cases, they need a BCM strategy and contingency plan that adheres to the ISO 22301 standard before they are allowed to legally operate.

Leon Altomonte
Article by

Leon Altomonte

SafetyCulture Content Contributor
Leon Altomonte is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. With his language degree and years of experience in content writing, he delivers well-researched, informative articles about safety, quality, and operational excellence. In addition to his professional pursuits, Leon maintains a creative outlet as a performing musician.