Continuity of Operations Planning is the process whereby ABC University ensure the continued performance of critical operations when confronted with adverse events such as natural disasters, technology failures, human errors or terrorism. The objectives of the continuity of operations plan are to minimize loss to ABC University, continue to serve its students and maintain administrative operations. This is accomplished through the development of plans and procedures to provide secondary options including alternate sites, personnel, resources, interoperable communication and vital records.
FEMA (2013) offered the following statement in regards to continuity planning:
The lessons we have learned from such catastrophic events as Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012, and the Boston Marathon Bombing on April 15, 2013, demonstrate the need to reemphasize continuity as a “good business practice” to be incorporated into day-to-day planning, in order to reduce vulnerability and ensure continuity. (Cite CGC 1 P2)
ABC University has an obligation to protect and provide for students, faculty, staff, and all others on its campus in the event of a major interruption to the operations of the university. These obligations does not stop at the university level. Each Department on campus is further responsible to be able to meet its individual obligations. These responsibilities include the capacity to provide the services in order to ensure the essential functions critical to the operations of the university. Should an event or disaster occur that interrupts the normal operations each department shall be ready to respond and minimize the impact to the university. Failure to have a comprehensive continuity plan could possibly lead to interruptions of academic classes, lost valuable research and possible financial disaster.
The Continuity Plan shall contain clear and detailed strategies and procedures needed to continue operations and execute a recovery in the event of an interruption to critical functions. For this reason ABC University needs both a institute-wide plan and individual plans for departments that are responsible for essential functions. Essential functions are processes that are vital to mitigate the loss to the university, ensure the campus community continues to be served, and administrative operations are resumed safely, effectively and in a timely manner.
Phases of Continuity
The decision to implement a continuity plan is an important decision which requires a large commitment from the institute’s staff. However the implementation and training of the continuity plan is only the first step. ABC University will follow the Continuity Plan Operational Phases model established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and outlined in the Continuity Guidance Circular 1 and illustrated in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Continuity Plan Operational Phases
Phase I titled Readiness and Preparedness is...