Can Business Continuity Standards Help Your Business?By Ericka Chickowski | Posted 2008-09-25 Email Print
This case study on Repligen, a pharmaceutical company, takes a close look at the benefits and costs of applying business continuity and disaster recovery standards through a certified program. One expert in the field argues that companies should go slow with this process and examine all costs associated with it before deciding on a competing standard. Cerifications are a business, but real cost benefits can come in the form of customer loyalty and more efficient auditing, as well as streamlining business continuity processes.
When big pharma needs a specialized ingredient called recombinant Protein A, chances are that they’ll be counting Waltham, Mass-based Repligen to provide it. “We are essentially a sole source provider for our customers,” says Laura Whitehouse, Vice President of Market Development for Repligen.
That’s good for Repligen’s business, but it also puts a tremendous amount of responsibility on company leaders’ shoulders. They must ensure their IT and general operations never suffer a blip that would cause that supply of Protein A to be cut off lest customers and patients suffer.
Over the past couple of years, Repligen had been feeling increasing pressure from its wary customer base to not only improve its business continuity planning, but offer solid proof of these improvements. In recent years, Repligen had been working on ways to hammer out its disaster recovery and business continuity program on its own—but those efforts were less than organized.
Which is why, when the company heard about the upstart business continuity certification standard from the British Standards Institute (BSI) Management Group called that BS 25999 standard not only offered a framework of practices to hang its policies on, but also a certification to provide customers with external validation, Repligen jumped to action.
“When the option became available to have our business continuity management certified we made the determination to move forward and really revamp our entire business continuity program,” Whitehouse says. “Which essentially meant, for the most part, starting from ground zero to build a new business continuity management system consistent with BS 25999. We decided to move forward with certification to have that external validation from a third party that would then communicate to our customers a level of confidence and trust in our business continuity management practices.”