Annex 7 - Continuity of Operations


This document shall provide guidance in the management and administration of Binghamton University's Continuity of Operations planning program.

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 reviewed and/or 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.

COOP Planning Tool

Binghamton University departments should utilize Binghamton University’s business continuity planning tool: B-Ready. B-Ready is intended to assist departments and programs with the development of a more resilient organization. Assistance with completion of this tool may be obtained by contacting the Emergency Management program at 607-777-3545.

Continuity Program Management Cycle

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 emergency management program staff within Binghamton University shall assist with 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.

Continuity of Operations Departmental Additions

It will be the responsibility of the emergency management program to oversee the familiarization of departments with Continuity of Operations and the B-Ready planning 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 planning tool with an introductory meeting and tutorial with the program. This meeting shall include emergency management staff and the head(s) of the department. It will then be the responsibility of individual department head(s) to add additional users to their plan. The emergency management program shall serve as an information source for departments during the planning process.

Plan Development

It is the sole responsibility of each department to develop a Continuity of Operations plan for the department. It is the responsibility of the emergency management program 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 emergency management program shall set appropriate timelines given the normal daily workload of university faculty and staff.

Upon plan completion, the department head shall notify the emergency management program of completion and the review process shall begin. During the plan review process, it will be the responsibility of the emergency management program 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 emergency management program 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 emergency management program 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 program.

Training, Testing, and Yearly Review

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 emergency management program 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.

Implementation of Continuity of Operations Plans

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 emergency management program 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.