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Business Continuity in Higher Education

November 12, 2020

In just the past few years, higher education has faced a wide range of incidents and emergencies, including: 

  • Hurricanes
  • Earthquakes
  • Floods
  • Fires
  • Tornadoes
  • Campus shootings
  • Riots
  • Civil unrest
  • Crime
  • Arson
  • Hackings
  • Power outages
  • Pandemics
  • Chemical, biological, and radiological hazards. 

Having a business continuity plan helps maintain services in an emergency. Being prepared is not just a great idea; it should be expected. Not being prepared for foreseeable events and disasters can harm the institution, faculty, staff, and students. 

What Is Business Continuity?

Business continuity is an institution’s ability to continue performing critical functions after an emergency, whether natural or human-made. A business continuity plan dictates the clear steps the institution will take when faced with those emergencies. This can help higher education institutions (particularly private universities) avoid bankruptcy and financial problems if they lose just a semester or more of tuition. 

Due to limited budgets, creative solutions are needed in business continuity planning for higher education to address new threats. In traditional continuity planning, businesses are able to afford full redundancy for all functions and information technology. That luxury is not affordable or available for most higher education institutions. 

Why Should You Include a Business Continuity Plan? 

Business continuity plans in higher education help improve risk management and ensure your institution rebounds and continues to function. They focus on identifying key assets that are critical to providing necessary services as well as identifying the key risks to those vital assets and processes. 

Without risk management and a business continuity plan, institutions are faced with a longer recovery period after an emergency, which can lead to reduced income, donations, and support for the institution. It can also lead to a critical pause in education and research, which can have significant and long-lasting consequences.

What Makes a Great Business Continuity Plan in Higher Education?

The three keys to success in business continuity planning are training, drills, and exercises. Business continuity in higher education is more than just a document that can sit on a shelf and be forgotten about. It is a living plan that is practiced, revised, and improved. 

Practicing your plan is vital to its success because it maximizes awareness of the plan and increases its overall effectiveness and efficiency. If faculty and staff are not aware of your continuity plan when it comes time to implement it, they will not fully understand their role or responsibilities. 

Kuali Ready

Higher education is faced with maintaining critical services like student residents, clinical services, academic instruction, research, and special events security that have no comparison or equal in traditional business organizations. Kuali Ready is built to help address those unique elements of higher education, the organizational structure in higher ed, and is designed to help maintain a business continuity plan for higher education institutions.

Sign up for your demonstration today to see how it can help you manage your complex responsibilities with structured importable data, plan status reports, and more.

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