What is Business Continuity Planning?
Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is a planning tool completed by a university department in order to mitigate the effects of a disruption to university operations caused by an adverse event. With a BCP in place, the effects of any type of disruption can be minimized, and the department can continue to provide services while full operations are restored.
What types of adverse events are we planning for?
Since types of emergencies are very tough to predict, an all-hazard approach is being taken. Business Continuity Planning on campus is most focused on building-specific events, including floods and fires, while being cognizant that we live in an earthquake zone.
Why do we do BCP?
- BCP allows departments to identify critical assets (documents/equipment/individuals) prior to a business disruption, in order to allow recovery to proceed in a timely fashion.
- BCP provides an opportunity to make proactive changes in advance of a disruption in order to reduce the severity of potential loss. For example, a simple thing like moving your computer off the floor can save it in the event of a serious water leak.
A common misconception is that BCP is the same as Emergency Management (EM). Both BCP and EM are closely related at UVic and have significant areas of overlap. Emergency Management is focused on developing an institutional framework for responding to major emergencies and supporting quick recovery, whereas BCP is a departmental process designed to assist EM in recovery.
For example, in the event of a major building fire the EM framework would be activated to manage the immediate impact of the fire (i.e., evacuation, liaising with fire departments, securing the building, etc.). The BCP team would identify the critical functions impacted, and the resources required to restart the function (i.e., alternate teaching or office space, equipment requirements, etc.).
Who needs a BCP?
Each department on or off campus is responsible for ensuring that they have an executable BCP. The process usually involves an administrative staff member compiling all necessary information, with the primary decision maker in the unit providing sign off.
If we don't already have a BCP, how do we start?
Please contact the Risk and Insurance Analyst who will visit with your department to provide further detail on continuity planning on campus, and will get you started with the online tool.
- Who is the online tool designed for?
The online tool is a user-friendly interface which takes users through the BCP process step-by-step.
Departments with existing BCP expertise will notice that several of the initial steps normally found in a BCP (i.e., hazard identification and business impact assessments including recovery time/point objectives) are not present. Those departments with BCP expertise are encouraged to formalize their plans using traditional methodology.
- Are there any resources on campus to help with planning?
Yes, the Risk and Insurance Analyst is available to meet with departments to assist in BCP development, or to assist with the online tool.
Every plan should be reviewed annually to ensure it is up-to-date. Major departmental changes may require a more frequent review.
- Our department isn't too large or complex - do we need to plan?
Yes. It is recommended every department regardless of size or function should complete a plan. BCPs are stored centrally, and while certain responses may seem obvious to your department, the Emergency Management Team may need to review your plan if an event takes place and there is no one from your department available.
- We already have a thorough plan in a Word document - do we have to use the online tool?
Yes. Plans can be uploaded directly into the BCP tool; however, we do ask that the first and second page of the tool be completed for administrative purposes.
- How do we know if our plan is executable?
One of our goals is to practice on BCP every quarter - the Risk and Insurance Analyst is always looking for volunteers.