What the SS540 Business Continuity Standard is Designed to Do

Is a population of around five million people enough to justify bringing out a separate business continuity standard for that country? After all, with other internationally applied standards already available, such as BS 25999 and now ISO 22301, making your own version might be described as reinventing the wheel. However, when that country is Singapore with one of the five busiest ports in the world and the only Asian country to be rated “AAA” by the world’s three top credit rating agencies, then Singapore’s own standard for business continuity practices, SS540, takes on a new light.

SS540 contains policy guidance, process and objectives definitions, and approaches to BC awareness and training, monitoring and reviewing, and continuous improvement. The content is based on a matrix structure to facilitate the work of organisations in checking where they are well-prepared and where their gaps may be in business continuity management. There are six main areas that are covered: risk analysis and review; business impact analysis, recovery strategy, the business continuity plan, tests and exercises, and programme management. Each section is then examined in terms of the following four components: policies, processes, people and infrastructure.

Given the dynamic nature of the Singaporean economy, business continuity managers have their work cut out in applying SS540. Financially, Singapore is the world’s fourth most important centre (and also the world’s fourth biggest foreign-exchange trading centre following London, New York and Tokyo). Logistically, the country is rated as the top hub in the world by the World Bank. In summary, when you’re doing that well, it’s only natural that you pay particular attention to making that success continue. Having your own national business continuity standard is one way to help make that happen.