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General Questions About Business Continuity Plans

What is Business Continuity Planning (BCP) and how is that different from Emergency Operations?

Business Continuity Planning documents back up plans for continuing normal (or as close to normal) business operations if there is a disruption to normal operating procedures. Emergency Operations (aka Emergency Response) is defined as the immediate response to the safety and security of individuals and property during and immediately following an emergency event.

Why should our unit have a BCP?

A BCP is like homeowner’s insurance. It is wise to have it in place, but the hope is that you will never have to use it. While we don’t like to think about it, the possibility of a major system outage, a natural disaster, an act of terrorism, or a major fire is always upon us. A BCP helps to maintain core critical functions after an emergency or catastrophe, and is designed to assist with the reestablishment of normal business functions (perhaps in a reduced mode) as quickly as possible.

How do I start and what is the easiest way for me to accomplish the goal of creating a well-developed BCP?

There are many ways to begin, and the staff in the Emergency Management Office will guide you through the process. Many individuals find that actually getting into the OHIO Ready system and adding what limited information that initially comes to mind is a great way to get started. OHIO Ready is very intuitive and if you just fill in the blanks to the best of your ability and then PRINT the complete document - you will get a sense of what type of information the plan is asking for and you will also see the "holes" where information is missing. At that point, you can go back into OHIO Ready and add the missing pieces of information as well as further develop your responses.

Can I see another units "plan" as a reference?

Sample plans are available and demonstrates what a well documented plan may look like.  It can also provide ideas that may prove to be helpful during the development of your plan.

How can I get others in the department involved with the process so that I do not have to do all of this work myself?

This is a great question. The plan is best developed using a team approach and leadership support is key. Obviously everyone on the team needs to provide input as well as understand the need for a Business Continuity Plan in order to utilize the plan successfully if the need should arise.  Normally, one staff member takes the lead and then solicits input from coworkers, supervisors, and directors to ensure that all are in agreement with the documented response.

When should I involve my supervisor?

Supervisors should be involved from the very beginning of the process and be supportive of the plan creation. Keep them involved along the way by sharing responses to various portions of the plan, and seek their input, direction and approval as the plan is completed. Typically, the highest level of supervision within the office "signs off" on the plan and updates the status to either complete (when initial plan is completed) or current (after each annual review). 

What constitutes a “good” BCP?

A good BCP is one that will provide the leadership of your department (and substitute leadership if need be) with a clear sense of what critical functions need to be re-established quickly and efficiently after an incident or disaster, and also provides options and resources to help guide the process. A BCP will never be "perfect" because incidents will vary, but it should provide enough information and guidance that the person(s) responsible for restoration of services does not have to start from scratch.

Can we access the OHIO Ready system if the Ohio network is down? Can we retrieve our plan from home?

The answer to both questions is yes! OHIO Ready is hosted off site and as long as you have access to an internet connection you can access your plan.

How can I change my password?

To change your password, log into the system and look at the upper right hand side of the page where the silhouette is shown. Click “account settings” and simply change your password.

How can another user be added so that I can share the input of data with a co-worker?

There are three user levels within the Ohio Ready system - managers, editors, and viewers.  Only "managers" can add and delete users from a plan. To add a new user, first search for the person by typing their last name in the “select a user” field. If the person is already in the Ohio Ready system, their name will show up and you can “add user to this plan” and assign their user level. If this method does not work, then most likely the person has never been invited to join OHIO Ready as a user. In that instance, select the blue “plus” sign by the name field, and enter the person’s first & last name and email address. Click on the box “send an email invitation” and then click “create user”. NOTE: once the person accepts the invitation and sets up their user account, it may take 24-48 hours for the administrator to approve the addition.

Will our department be in trouble if we do not complete a BCP?

At this point, there is no University policy that requires your department to complete a BCP however, BCPs will be required as part of the Internal Audit review process and your office might be marked with a deficiency if a plan is not in place.