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Critical Functions

How many critical functions should we have in our final plan?

Only your department can answer this question. There is no set number of critical functions required. Some units may have three, others may have ten. It really depends upon your individual unit and what duties you feel must be "functional" or accessible during/immediately following an emergency to bring your office back to a somewhat "normal" state of activity. Try to group like items into one critical function if possible (for instance, you might have a broad critical function called “accounting functions” or “records management” into which you can provide a description of a wide range of duties). Remember, the more critical functions that you list, the more there are to maintain. Sometimes it just makes sense to group similar activities together and other times they are distinctly different and you may want to detail the plans separately. This is a unit specific decision.

Criticality Level – How do you determine the criticality level of a critical function?
  • Critical 1: must be continued at normal or increased service load. Cannot pause. Necessary to life, health, security. (Examples: inpatient care, police services)
  • Critical 2: must be continued if at all possible, perhaps in reduced mode. Pausing completely will have grave consequences. (Examples: provision of care to at-risk outpatients, functioning of data networks, at-risk research)
  • Critical 3: may pause if forced to do so, but must resume in 30 days or sooner. (Examples: classroom instruction, research, payroll, student advising)
  • Deferrable: may pause; resume when conditions permit. (Examples: elective surgery, routine building maintenance, training, marketing)
What kind of documents should be uploaded?

Any document that you might want to have as part of the plan can be uploaded to the BCP. This might include emergency contact list/call tree; vendor information; paper “work around” documents (if network is unavailable); forms; etc. DO NOT upload manuals, or large documents. Either save them to OneDrive, or other cloud based storage for efficient offsite access, or “point” to them within the document fields so that a third party will know where they can be found.

What is an "upstream" dependency?

Think of water flowing down a river. Whatever happens upriver, affects those downriver. Your critical functions (projects, duties) depend on something or someone else. Upstream dependencies are processes, decisions, etc. that your office is reliant on happening before you can do a critical function. Your critical function may be waiting on deliverables from another office before it can continue. For example - the Ohio Information Network must be functional before you can access information from a shared drive. They (OIT) would then be an “upstream” dependency to any work requiring Ohio technology services. Another example is that you may be waiting on a list of students from the Registrar so you know who to contact for advising sessions. The Registrar’s Office is an upstream dependency in this instance.

What is a "downstream" dependency?

Downstream dependencies are processes, decisions, duties or other units who depend on your processes. A downstream dependency for the Admissions Office would be Housing and Residence Life because Housing is dependent on students being admitted to the institution before a housing agreement/contract can be completed. In other words, your critical function must occur before another can begin. Another example would be grant funding. An office waiting for funds might be dependent on the approval and submission of a grant by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Therefore the office is a "downstream" dependent of the actions of the higher level grant approval process.

Working from Home:

There are some instances when identified staff could be permitted to perform work from home or another off site location. Please review Ohio Policies: 40.053 and 40.063. Depending upon job duties, working from home may require VPN access. For more information about VPN please contact the Office of Information Technology (740) 593-1222. Also, see “Information Technology Section” of this document for information about VPN and cloud based applications.

Please give me an example of an "action item".

An action item is similar to a "to do" list. If you identify a shortfall in your plan and you need some time to work it out or you don't want an idea to get too far off the radar, you can add it to your action item list. An example might be if your office does not have an emergency contact list. You will want to complete one but may not have the time to do it right now. You can add it to your action item list and then adjust the flow (not yet started, in process, completed) as you work through the process. Your action items may also include a financial component (eg. need to build money into your budget) and your plan will then serve as a documented need that you can share with the budget unit manager.