Public Safety

Business Continuity FAQ

What is business continuity?

It is an ongoing process to ensure steps are taken to identify the impact of potential losses and to maintain recovery strategies, recovery plans, and the capability to continue essential functions.

What is a critical (essential) function?

The university uses three categories to define essential functions. These definitions were slightly modified within Bearcat Ready to assist planning at the department and college levels.

  • Category 1: Mission Critical – services that must remain operational at all times.
    • Life, health and security are examples
  • Category 2: Immediate Post-Incident – services that must be brought back online as soon as possible and no later than 12 hours after an incident.
    • Data networks, research, food services, housing.
  • Category 3: Normal Services – services that need not be restored in full until the incident has passed and Category 1 and 2 services are operational

What is the difference between Business Continuity Planning and Emergency Action Planning (EAP)?

Business Continuity Planning identifies resources, processes and procedures that ensure your area’s ability to conduct normal operations and how to resume operations as quickly as possible after an emergency or incident. Emergency Action Planning (EAP) are procedures and actions taken to ensure the safety and security of people and property during an emergency or incident.

What are some examples of a department critical (essential) function?

Patrol, snow removal, research, facilities repair, payroll, meal services, purchasing of supplies, student advising, instruction of students and data networks maintance.

Can we access our plan if the UC Network is down?

Yes. Bearcat Ready is hosted off site and access to your plan only requires an internet connection.

Is anyone available to walk us through the Bearcat Ready application?

Yes. You can contact Pamela Bowers at

Who should do continuity planning?

All university divisions, departments, colleges, schools, research unit, and other units that conduct teaching, research or public service should have a continuity plan. Other units that provide essential support or infrastructure to these units should also have a continuity plan.

How long does it take to create a continuity plan?

Think of this as a two- to four-month project. Our experience is that longer time frames do not produce better plans. Most of the time will be "white space," waiting for meetings to happen and people to come to agreements on priorities and action items. The number of actual staff hours required is surprisingly small, because Bearcat Ready uses a "fill in the blanks" process. Virtually no time is spent learning how to do a continuity plan.

Who should be in the planning group?

The planning group is typically a staff group, with membership drawn from upper and middle managers and supervisors: assistant deans, assistant directors, HR managers, IT managers, key functional managers and building coordinators. These are people who have access to upper management and who understand how the organization operates. Keep the group size manageable. In very small units, the continuity plan is often done by the head staff member, without a planning group. If your unit is an academic department or research unit, faculty input is important. While it is often difficult to engage faculty as direct participants in the planning group, try to solicit faculty opinion in other ways: interview key faculty members or simply hold less formal conversations on key issues.

How detailed and complete does our plan need to be?

Your continuity plan can never be “complete” because you can’t know what disaster you’re planning for, and you must account for change. The planning tool will prompt you for the appropriate level of detail, and most of those details will be things that your group easily knows or can figure out. BE BRIEF: most questions are best answered with one-to-several sentences or bullets.