CEM & BCM: what’s the difference and which do you need?

Sivaraman Subramaniam

As a Resilience Management Professional, you may be familiar with the concepts of Critical Event Management (CEM) and Business Continuity Management (BCM). While these two areas of focus may seem similar, they are actually quite distinct and have different objectives. In this blog post, we will explore the key differences between CEM and BCM and how they complement each other to ensure the overall resilience and continuity of an organization.

Critical Event Management

CEM is a proactive approach to identify, assess, and respond to potential crises and emergencies that could significantly impact an organization. The goal of CEM is to minimize the negative effects of a critical incident and to ensure a timely and effective response.

CEM typically involves developing incident response plans, conducting risk assessments, and providing training for employees on how to respond  to critical events.

Business Continuity Management

BCM, on the other hand, is a proactive approach to ensure the continuation of essential business functions during and after a disruptive incident. The goal of BCM is to minimize the impact of the incident on the organization and to restore normal operations as soon as possible. BCM typically involves developing continuity plans, identifying critical functions and dependencies, and testing and exercising the plans.

Key Differences

CEM and BCM are different in their scope and objectives. CEM is focused on managing and responding to a specific incident, while BCM is focused on ensuring the continuity of essential business functions. CEM is typically activated during an incident, while BCM is always active, providing an ongoing process.

CEM is more incident-driven and focuses on immediate response, rescue and recovery, while BCM is more process-driven and focuses on continuity of operations and recovery. CEM typically deals with short-term issues and disruptions, while BCM deals with longer-term disruptions and the resilience of the organization.

The Importance of Coordination

While CEM and BCM are distinct, they are closely related and should be coordinated to ensure an overall effective response and continuity of operations. Having a clear incident response plan and continuity plan in place, along with regular testing and exercising, can help an organization to quickly respond and recover from a critical event.

CEM and BCM are complementary and the objectives of each are designed to work together to ensure the overall resilience and continuity of an organization. This means that critical incident management is an integral part of overall business continuity management, and this two-pronged approach provides a comprehensive, holistic approach to ensuring the organization can continue operating in the face of disruptions.

Benefits of critical event management

Critical event management (CEM) is a strategy for dealing with unexpected and potentially disruptive events that can have a significant impact on an organization. Some benefits of CEM include:

Faster response times: By having a pre-planned and well-rehearsed response to critical events, organizations can respond more quickly and effectively to minimize the impact of the event.

Improved communication: CEM helps to ensure that all relevant parties are informed and involved in the response to a critical event, improving coordination and reducing confusion.

Automated Alerts Automated alerts across and seamless engagements with responders ensure faster resolution time and reduce impact .

Reduced impact: By identifying and mitigating potential risks, CEM can help to minimize the impact of a critical event on an organization.

Seamless Data Integration Capabilities; Integrating with multiple database and contact sync with s=custom integration helps in obtaining completing Org operating picture

Compliance  Deep Analytics,Audit Logs & Consolidated Reporting helps Management in getting the real time updates as CEM is more operational in nature enabled by AI platforms

Cost savings: Effective CEM can help to minimize the financial impact of a critical event on an organization.

Reputation management: By demonstrating a capability to effectively respond to critical events, organizations can improve their reputation and maintain customer trust.


In conclusion, while CEM and BCM share some similarities, they are distinct in their focus, objectives, and implementation. CEM deals with immediate response, rescue, and recovery, while BCM deals with ensuring continuity of operations and resilience of the organization. Having both in place along with regular testing and exercising, will help organizations minimize the impact of critical events and restore normal operations as soon as possible.

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