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A Degree Of BC

by msecadm4921

Kevin Brear can see the irony of working as a business continuity (BC) manager at the scene of one of the most famous BC failures in history. Mark Rowe walks down Pudding Lane.

Kevin Brear can see the irony of working as a business continuity (BC) manager at the scene of one of the most famous BC failures in history. Mark Rowe walks down Pudding Lane. <br><br>Kevin Brear is part of business continuity management in the financial markets division at Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets, and is the security co-ordinator for the financial markets division. He and the division are based in the City of London, at Faryners House, Monument Street. As a plaque on the corner of Pudding Lane says, Mr Faryner was the king’s baker, where the Great Fire of London started in 1666. Kevin Brear joined the City of London Police in 1986 and came to hold the posts of contingency planning officer, business continuity manager and CBRN co-ordinator for the force. He was among the invited speakers at the Association of Security Consultants’ annual conference in 2004. He was then already studying for a MSc degree in risk, crisis and disaster management with the Department of Criminology at the University of Leicester. His police employer paid towards the course fees and books. Now working at the bank, his dissertation is due to be handed in on September 9, “and it will be,” he laughs, broadly. We are sitting in a nearby coffee shop and I note he must be a regular user because he has one of those cards that staff stamp so the customer can get extra cups. Once seated, I ask: why put himself through the, as he admits, considerable time and effort for a masters degree, when he didn’t have to? “It’s been a good investment,” he says. <br><br>After 7-7<br><br>His dissertation subject: how people gathered information, after 7-7, about what went wrong and the lessons – the problems using mobile phones on the day, for instance. His conclusion: there isn’t a journal, a clearing house, somewhere without an axe to grind where business continuity people can ask questions and learn. There are silos of information, but no joining-up of them. And, to protect reputations, some organisations have gathered information about 7-7 and locked it away. What he has researched he is finding of use in his job, he reports; he understood already the practical stuff, but wanted to understand the theory, and the degree gave him a framework to understand his daily work. <br><br>‘Paradigm shift’<br><br>What advice would he give to security managers, looking to better themselves, or to gain a qualification? He stirs the froth of his latte. “Security in the past ten years has gone through a paradigm shift. There has been a clear move towards a more professional set-up, and not so long ago security was an old boys’ network of ex-policemen, ex-military, at the higher levels.” With professionalism, he adds, comes an expectation that a security person can no longer say, ‘do as I do, because I say so’. You have to give supporting evidence. A degree education – and Kevin does not have a first degree, he went into the police after the civil service – does, he says, change the way you present information, and changes the way you accept (or don’t) information presented to you. The degree education gives you a more inquiring mind. That might sound a paradox, coming from a former police officer, Kevin appreciates; he means, that in the police you pretty well accept the word of your colleagues, because you are not allowed to lie to them; hence you don’t question material. <br><br>Degree of choice<br><br>Another quite recent change, Kevin says, is in the UK’s choice of risk and security-related degrees. Once, Leicester and Loughborough had the field more or less to themselves: now, Kevin lists Cranfield, Durham, Portsmouth, Coventry, Hertfordshire and London Metropolitan. In a word, more choice, depending on where you are (even some distance-learning courses may require you to attend the university sometimes) and the course content. I made the point that the most popular university degree is in business studies; why did Kevin not choose that? He answers that he was interested in emergency management. While BC as something separate is a fairly new discipline, the concept is very old. Kevin fires a question back; given all the MBA courses, why do so many of those business degrees have little or nothing about business continuity?! He sums up: “The one thing that’s come out of this [degree] for me is I have a greater understanding of risk, and if you are a security professional you have to understand risk.” But as he admits, what one person means by risk might not be the same as someone else’s meaning. <br><br>BC qward<br><br>Kevin’s division won the BCI / CIR 2006 award for Business Continuity Strategy of the Year.<br><br>For more about Leicester risk and other courses:

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