Business Continuity planning is an essential part of running any modern organization that takes its business and its clients seriously. With so many potential business disasters looming that can befall an organization at any time, it seems unwise not to take actions to prepare for and try to prevent the devastating impact of such catastrophes.

Business continuity (BC) can be defined as a business’ ability to maintain or restore its business and services when some circumstance disrupts normal operations. BC involves disaster recovery, the many activities that are necessary to restore operational status after a disaster.

BC planning is an institution-wide responsibility and needs a champion at the executive level in order to make progress. A collaborative effort is needed to do a robust risk assessment, to prioritize what business processes need to be restored in what order, and to plan and practice the steps needed to restore operations back to a working level after an event.

This integrated approach involves every department understanding and preparing for the role it will play in keeping the entire business functional in a crisis and operational long-term. BC involves more than just traditional administrative information systems recovery; it also means planning for contingencies for teaching and research in the event those systems on which these services depend are inoperable. Recent incidents such as Katrina have brought BC planning into sharp focus for higher education institutions.

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