SS540:2008, also known as Singapore Standard for Business Continuity Management (BCM), aims to provide a framework and guidelines for companies to prepare themselves so as to minimise the impact of any disruptions and ensure business resilience.

If companies themselves do not perceive the risk of being real, they tend to be slow in recognizing the importance of business continuity measures and incorporating them to their processes and management strategies…

Lee Yi Shyan, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, 22 May 2008

The SS540 was launched by SPRING Singapore in October 2008 as a revision of the Technical Reference or TR19:2005. With the evolvement of TR19 to SS540, Singapore has adopted a national standard for Business Continuity. SS540 is applicable to all international and local companies regardless of their industry or size. It serves as an effective and structured management system that can be integrated with other management requirements in the organization. Companies can include their business concerns, such as quality, safety, security and other management systems for a more comprehensive BCM plan.

SPRING Singapore also launched The National BCM programme in December 2008 to encourage early adoption of BCM by SMEs and to help businesses build resilience and capability for an effective response to disruptions. Companies can tap on the S$30 million government funding to implement BCM within the organisation. This five-year programme was driven by both Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and SPRING Singapore.

Brief History of Business Continuity Standards in Singapore

The Government will continue to take the lead to encourage companies already supplying Government with essential services to be certified in TR19, or equivalent standards.  Eventually, we may even make it mandatory for firms supplying essential or important services to the government to obtain TR19 or equivalent standards.

Prof S Jayakumar, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, at “The National Security Dialogue with the Business Community”, 21 May 2008

The Business Continuity Management (BCM) programme was initiated by SPRING Singapore to encourage organizations to take up BCM as part of good management practices in 2003. In July 03, the SPRING standard on ‘Requirements for Business Continuity Management’ was launched. The objective is to provide organizations with a set of requirements that will lead them towards achieving BCM competence. In September 2005, the Technical Reference (TR19:2005) on BCM was launched to supersede the SPRING standard. TR19 was prepared by the Technical Committee (TC) on Business Continuity Management (BCM) under the purview of the Management Systems Standards Committee (MSSC) to replace the old SPRING BCM standard (which was launched in year 2003), “Requirements for Business Continuity Management”.

In recent years, security concerns and their impact on businesses have resulted in an increasing number of companies considering preventive measures to remain resilient in their business operations. Implementing BCM is a strategic decision which management should consider for long term sustainability of the organization. The need for a common platform for good industry management practice has prompted Singapore Business Federation (SBF), the Economic Development Board (EDB) and SPRING Singapore (with invaluable inputs from key industry players like Motorola Electronics, Shell Eastern Petroleum, SP PowerGrid, Schering Plough, the Association of Bank, Singapore, the Risk and Insurance Management Association of Singapore and the Institute of Internal Auditors) to initiate the development of this TR. The primary focus of TR19 is on continuity management and recovery of critical business operations. This includes preventive measures, methodologies and processes to implement disaster recovery planning, business continuity planning, emergency response and management, crisis communications management, supply chain coordination and cooperation with industry and public authorities. TR19 had been endorsed by the Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII) in the United States and Business Continuity Institute  (BCI) in the United Kingdom as a BCM standard that is aligned to international BCM practices and can be applied to any organization. It has been accepted by the ISO as the basis for the development of an international standard. The Singapore Government is encouraging businesses to attain TR19 to help them recover when crisis strikes. In the long run, it may also be compulsory for firms supplying the Government with essential services to be certified with TR19.

Do contact us for more information on the new SS540 : 2008 Singapore Standard for Business Continuity Management (BCM) and we hope to assist your company to attain SS540 certification.

Update 2012

SS540 has been replaced by ISO22301 “Societal Security — Business continuity management systems — Requirements″.

Do contact us for our assistance to attain the ISO22301 certification.