For many years now there has been an obvious need for a simple, concise guide to Business Continuity Management for non-experts. Having read and enjoyed a number of excellent books in the “For Dummies” series; I was therefore very optimistic when I heard that “Business Continuity For Dummies” was due to be published. However, having now read the book from cover to cover I am slightly disappointed: clearly I will have to go on waiting for the simple, concise guide that I seek.
The book sets out to be a practical guide for owners/managers of small businesses but, in reality, it is rather theoretical. This tendency is at its worst in the critical chapters concerning risk and strategy. The risk chapter is largely devoted to explaining the flawed approach to risk management adopted by the UK government (for an excellent explanation of why it’s flawed read “The Failure of Risk Management” by Douglas W Hubbard): even if this approach is appropriate for large organisations, it is very unclear how useful it would be for small businesses. Meanwhile the strategy chapter is extremely complex and I remain unconvinced that a novice could usefully apply the process outlined (I’m actually not sure that I could). In both cases I feel it would have been far more useful to give some practical data, such as: the cause and impacts of disruptions; and indicative costs of some generic continuity strategies.
That said, there are a couple of highlights for me in the book. The BIA chapter is as good an introductory explanation as I have seen anywhere, and I think that someone could literally read that chapter and go away and produce a reasonable BIA. Meanwhile, the chapter on Crisis Management captures the important points from PAS 200 in a clear, concise manner; and it is considerably cheaper than buying the actual standard. Overall though I feel the book is a wasted opportunity, and I would still advise people to consider other texts such as “Contingency Planning and Disaster Recovery – A Small Business Guide” by Donna Childs and Stefan Dietrich.
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