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Sign Off and Annual Review Process

When is/will our BCP be ready for "sign off" and what does that mean?

Once the plan is as thorough and complete as you can make it at the time, AND AFTER unit leadership/ supervisor has reviewed it and provided comment and/or edits, it is ready for sign off. The sign off is a simple process that actually just updates the plan status.  It will however, require that the person with that authority have a user account.

Can changes be made to the plan once it is signed off?

Yes. The BCP is a living document and should be updated and expanded as opportunity arises. For instance, if there is a crisis or emergency at another institution and you think to yourself "what would we do if that happened here"? It might be a good time to make an edit your BCP and document what your plan of recovery would be in a similar situation. There is also a yearly review period where you will be asked to look at your BCP and make appropriate edits.

Once our BCP is completed and signed off, what do I do?

Once the plan is completed, it should be SHARED with key individuals of your department. We recommend printing off a copy for the office, and also one for each key staff member. Ask them to take their copy home in the event that it is needed during non-business hours. You may want to email them a PDF of the document as well. The idea is that everyone has an easily accessible copy so that can be utilized quickly if needed.

When should our plan be updated?

Once per year all plans should be reviewed and updated. There may be new staff who need to be added, or processes that have changed. Also, the plan should be updated anytime that there is an incident that prompts discussion or thoughts on how a process should be conducted if an emergency should occur.

What is meant by "Testing a Business Continuity Plan"?

Testing, training and exercises are designed to familiarize staff members with their roles and responsibilities during a distruptive event and also ensure that systems and equipment are maintained in a constant state of readiness. Managers can be creative when it comes to BCP readiness exercises and create practice scenario's such as power outages, server failure, tornado damage, etc. After identifying a scenario, discuss it during a department meeting and talk through how each critical function would be affected and allow employees to react to the situation.Testing the BCP will validate the documented plans, policies, procedures and systems; identify deficiencies in the BCP and allow for subsequent correction. The Office of Emergency Management is available to facilitate table top exercises or can provide you with examples. Often it is helpful to partner with other offices when scheduling a drill. Evaluate your unit's performance and then make edits/corrections or changes to the BCP as necessary.