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Policies and Procedures

Procedure 101.1 – Preparing Business Continuity Plans

March 19, 2010
Last Updated
November 8, 2017
Responsible University Officer
Director of Risk Management Services
Responsible Unit
Risk Management Services

Procedure Statement

Campus departments should develop a written plan of action for mitigating the effects of unexpected events which may disrupt their normal business operations. These business continuity plans should be flexible, updated on a regular basis, maintained in readiness, and be easily retrievable when needed. Although the original plan is to remain with each campus department, a backup copy should also be submitted to Risk Management Services where a repository of all campus plans is reviewed and maintained.

Forms and Instructions

Each campus department is responsible for writing their own business continuity plan. Departments with multiple locations or a number of separate units have discretion as to what organizational level their plan is written. The department head can instruct each individual unit or location to complete its own plan, or one master plan can be written for the entire department. Either way is acceptable as long as the plan covers all operational exposures and is written effectively.

Risk Management Services provides resources and tools to help departments prepare their business continuity plan. Two templates have been developed specifically for campus departments to address personnel and facility needs during a business interruption. Departments should use the Pandemic Influenza - Continuity of Operations Plan and Facility Resiliency - Continuity of Operations Plan templates to address these two aspects. Samples of completed templates are also available to assist departments.

Risk Management Services has also developed a "Guide to Business Continuity and Recovery Planning on Campus". This guide is not a substitute for completing your department's plan, but rather, provides a primer for your business continuity planning and addresses such topics as academic and research continuity, communications, critical functions and employee preparedness.

While departments should utilize the aforementioned templates and resources to create and maintain a workable business continuity plan, the process behind creating this plan involves a number of sequential steps. The following five steps identify an effective process for preparing a business continuity plan and correspond with the information requested in our business continuity templates:

1) Initiation - Campus departments' senior leadership and other necessary stakeholders should be involved from the outset to address such areas as defining the scope of the plan, the goals and objectives, who is to be involved, funding needs and a timeline for completion. This step also helps identify your leadership succession and how the department will communicate with its stakeholders.

2) Conducting a Business Impact Analysis - Campus departments should conduct a comprehensive analysis of your business to address: a) your critical functions, b) how long before the department would need to resume these critical functions to prevent significant loss of service, revenue or materials, c) the financial impact of losing these critical functions, d) internal and external dependencies and e) an estimate of the resources needed for a successful resumption.

3) Defining Strategies - Once the business impact analysis is complete, campus departments should evaluate the alternative strategies that are available to resume operations and select the most effective one(s).

4) Developing and Implementing the Plan - Campus departments should define the scope of the planning effort and put the plan into a state of readiness. All necessary stakeholders should be familiar with and approve the plan. And finally, campus departments should make sure the plan is accessible and can be retrieved when needed.

5) Maintenance and Testing - Business continuity plans should be flexible with updates and revisions when needed. Assign a plan administrator who is responsible for keeping the plan in a state of readiness. Campus departments should also test plans to identify their strengths and weaknesses.

When your department's business continuity plan is complete, make sure it is available when needed. Remember that your campus building may not be accessible during a loss, so backup copies should also be maintained at an alternative location. An electronic copy that can be accessed remotely should also be made available to all necessary stakeholders.

Departments should also send a backup copy of their completed plan (or whenever revisions are made) to Risk Management Services which reviews and maintains all campus plans. In the event of a disaster, Risk Management Services can access your plan if all other options are unavailable.

  • 101.1.1f - Pandemic Influenza - Continuity of Operations Plan Template
  • 101.1.2f - Facility Resiliency – Continuity of Operations Plan Template

Related Data

Risk Management Services Business Continuity
UNC Environment, Health & Safety Pandemic Influenza Continuity of Operations Planning

Guide to Business Continuity and Recovery Planning on Campus


March 19, 2010
November 8, 2017 - Updated contact information on forms 101.1.1f and 101.1.2f.