CloseUp: Disaster Recovery
DRI International is the organization that stands behind an entire program of certifications aimed at business continuity topics. DRI was formed in 1988 as the Disaster Recovery Institute. If you stop to consider that a terminology shift has hit IT since the mid-1990s, so that what was once known as “disaster recovery” is now more commonly described as “business continuity,” the parent organization’s name makes perfect sense.
That said, DRI International is best understood as a nonprofit professional association—it was formed in St. Louis by a group of IT professionals as well as academics from nearby Washington University—whose mandate is to oversee individual certifications, establish a common body of knowledge, enhance industry professionalism and promote alliances with industry and academia to drive research and curriculum development. Thus, in all of the right ways, DRI International (www.drii.org) has the right kind of pedigree to offer broad-based, vendor-neutral IT industry certifications.
This organization’s work is codified in a 1997 document titled “Professional Practices for Business Continuity Planners” (www.drii.org/ppcont.htm). DRI International offers a certification ladder consisting of three credentials:
- Associate Business Continuity Planner (ABCP): The most basic DRI International certification, this credential seeks to identify individuals who have minimum business continuity and disaster recovery knowledge, but who may lack the two years’ experience required to qualify for the CBCP. (See www.drii.org/ADRP.html for more information.)
- Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP): The base-level business continuity professional credential, the CBCP seeks to identify individuals with minimum knowledge of business continuity and disaster recovery planning who also have at least two years of relevant work experience in the field. (For more information, see www.drii.org/cdrp.html.)
- Master Business Continuity Professional (MBCP): The senior-level business continuity professional credential, the MBCP seeks to identify individuals who possess significant knowledge and skills related to business continuity and disaster recovery planning, with at least five years of relevant work experience in the field. (See www.drii.org/mbcp.htm for more information.)
What’s nice about this ladder is that the ABCP defines a great entry point for individuals interested in disaster recovery and business continuity planning who want to break into the field but do not yet have any significant work experience in the subject matter. The hurdles required for certification increase with each rung on the ladder, so that ABCPs need only pass an exam and complete an application, while MBCPs must not only meet those criteria, but must also document their work experience, attain a higher overall exam score and submit either a narrative case study or a directed research paper to qualify for their credentials. Also, CBCPs and MBCPs must meet continuing education requirements to maintain their certifications, in addition to paying annual maintenance fees and subscribing to the organizations’ code of ethics. (See www.drii.org/general.html#eth.)
The only potential “gotcha” in this picture is that DRI International appears to generate much of its revenue from teaching certification-related courses (and claims to have taught more than 10,000 attendees). However, most courses run for three days and are priced very reasonably at less than $300 per seat per day (cheaper than many vendor or training company offerings). Candidates can attempt the exams (which cost $250 by themselves) without taking courses if they choose to as well. All in all, this is a well-designed, well-structured program that offers a genuine opportunity for learning and growth to interested IT professionals.
Ed Tittel is president of LANwrights Inc. and is contributing editor for Certification Magazine. Ed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.