This policy shall provide guidance in the management and administration of Binghamton University's Continuity of Operations planning program. It is the responsibility of Binghamton University Emergency Management to develop and maintain the university's Continuity of Operations plan. During an emergency that results in loss of facilities, utilities, and/or a large loss of staff, it will also be the responsibility of Binghamton University Emergency Management to implement all necessary Continuity of Operations plans. It is the responsibility of Binghamton University departments to develop individual Continuity of Operations plans with the assistance of the emergency management program. Campus departments shall perform periodic plan updates. Department plans shall be updated no less than once per year.
Continuity of Operations, as defined in the National Security Presidential Directive-51/Homeland Security Presidential Directive-20 (NSPD-51/HSPD-20) is an effort within individual agencies and campuses to ensure that Critical Functions (CFs) continue to be performed during a wide range of emergencies, including localized acts of nature, accidents and technological or attack-related emergencies.
Binghamton University utilizes KualiReady, an online Continuity of Operations planning software tool to assist in the planning phase of this program. KualiReady is a software tool developed by the non-profit Kuali Foundation specifically for Continuity planning for Institutes of Higher Education released in April of 2010. This software tool was developed from its predecessor, the Berkley Tool, and is hosted by the Kuali Foundation. KualiReady takes an all-hazards look at Continuity of Operations planning. KualiReady has been branded as B-Ready on the Binghamton University campus in connection with B-Alert, the university's emergency alerting system.
Binghamton University's resiliency is directly related to the effectiveness of its continuity capability. An organization's continuity capability—its ability to perform its essential functions continuously—rests upon key components or pillars, which are in turn built on the foundation of continuity planning and program management. Those key pillars are Leadership, Staff, Communications, and Facilities. The continuity program staff within Binghamton University shall coordinate and oversee the development and implementation of continuity plans and supporting procedures.
A standardized continuity program management cycle ensures consistency across all continuity programs and supports the foundation and pillars that comprise the nation's continuity capability. It establishes consistent performance metrics, prioritizes implementation plans, promulgates best practices, and facilitates consistent cross-agency continuity evaluations.
It will be the responsibility of the Continuity of Operations program Coordinator to oversee the familiarization of departments with Continuity of Operations and the B-Ready software tool. Departments shall be included in the program on a rolling basis. Departments shall be familiarized with the concept of Continuity of Operations and the B-Ready software tool with an introductory meeting and tutorial with the program. This meeting shall include the Continuity of Operations program Coordinator or his/her designee and the head(s) of the department. It will then be the responsibility of individual department head(s) to add additional user to their plan. The Continuity of Operations program Coordinator shall serve as an information source for departments during the planning process.
At the program familiarization meeting with a department new to the B-Ready software tool, it is the responsibility of the Continuity of Operations program Coordinator to establish a department head with a Gate Keeper user account. This will allow this user to add additional users to their department plan. Once this account is established all other users from the department will be required to request an account via the B-Ready software tool homepage. Once personnel can be identified and confirmed users will be given access to the software tool by the Continuity of Operations program Coordinator. It will then be the responsibility of the Gate Keeper to give these users access to the department plan. All users except for the Continuity of Operations program Coordinator shall only have access to the plan of their department(s).
It is the sole responsibility of each department to develop a Continuity of Operation plan for their department. Where the B-Ready software program excels is explaining a complex concept like Continuity of Operation in terms that university members unfamiliar with the concept can understand without formal training. This will allow departments to form continuity plans with a basic understanding of Continuity of Operations. It is the responsibility of the Continuity of Operations program Coordinator to serve as an information source for individual departments during the development of their plans as well as to set and enforce plan completion timelines. These timelines will not be uniform for each department across campus. Certain departments will have a much larger number of critical functions and therefore require more time to complete the plan. The Continuity of Operations program Coordinator shall set appropriate timelines given the normal daily workload of university faculty and staff.
Upon plan completion, the department head shall notify the Continuity of Operations program Coordinator of completion and the review process shall begin. During the plan review process, it will be the responsibility of the Continuity of Operations program Coordinator to review the department plan in its entirety. This review shall ensure that all questions were answered fully and accurately and all continuity facilities and plans are logical and possible. This review shall ensure that multiple departments do not have the same continuity facilities if it is logical that both departments would be relocated in the same emergency.
Upon completion of the review, a meeting shall take place between the Continuity of Operations program Coordinator and the department head(s) to discuss the findings of the review. If there are any outstanding sections of the plan or corrections that must be made the Continuity of Operations program Coordinator shall work with the department to resolve all problems. Once a plan is completed it shall be added to the physical plan backup located within Binghamton University Emergency Management. All plans will also be located on Kuali Foundation servers.
The key to a successful Continuity of Operations program is continued training, testing, and a comprehensive revision process to existing plans. It is the responsibility of individual departments to perform regular training of department staff in their Continuity of Operations plan. It is important that department members are cross-trained in different functions of the Continuity of Operations plan due to the fact that emergencies may cause severe shortening of available staff, requiring available staff to perform functions well outside their day to day work. It is also the responsibility of department head(s) to conduct regular testing of their Continuity of Operations plan. Testing and exercising Continuity plans will determine problem areas in the plan that must be addressed as well as allow further training of department members. Exercises can be anything from a tabletop discussion of "what would we do?" to a full functional drill of transferring all department critical functions to a continuity facility. All testing and exercising shall conclude in an After-Action Report and a Corrective Action Plan. The Continuity of Operations program Coordinator shall be available to assist departments in the implementation of training, testing, and report development. If exercises are unavailable, departments shall conduct a yearly review of their existing Continuity of Operations plans and make adjustments as needed. A review must occur on a basis of at least once a year.
During an emergency that requires the activation of a single department's or multiple department's Continuity of Operations plan, it is the responsibility of the Continuity of Operations program Coordinator to present the university's Incident Management Team with all needed Continuity of Operations plans. It will then be the responsibility of the Incident Management Team to implement those plans. Although B-Ready is an all-hazards look at Continuity of Operations planning it is possible that an emergency may require a different action be taken than those described in the plan. Emergency incidents are unpredictable. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the Incident Management Team along with the Director of Emergency Management to decide the correct course of action during an incident. Continuity of Operations plans serve as guidelines and an information source of what each individual department requires to continue critical functions.
Last Updated: 4/7/14