The Benefits of Continuity Planning for Higher Education

Are your ducks in a row?

Understand Your Institution

Colleges and universities that complete a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) gain a thorough understanding of their organization and where it is the most vulnerable in the case of an adverse event. It may be that the immediate value of the BCP process is in identifying ways to improve as an organization before an incident occurs. But this knowledge can also lead to greater efficiencies on a day-to-day basis and may eliminate problems that could have lead to future interruptions.

Minimize Adverse Event Impacts

The goal of a BCP is to identify potential disruptions so that you can reduce their impact at the time of an incident. By completing a BCP you can set priorities for re-establishing critical functions such as teaching, research, and information technology in a timely manner. You will plan to ensure students receive related services including resident housing, financial aid, health services and more during a prolonged event.

Those who plan do better than those who do not plan even though they rarely stick to their plan. — Winston Churchill

Save Time and Money

If you wait until an incident has occurred it will be too late to respond efficiently. Identifying key resources, critical functions and individual action items must happen in advance. Your BCP will significantly reduce financial losses as downtime incurs great costs. With tuition dollars making up roughly 47% of revenue for public higher education it is imperative that students remain enrolled. By simply reducing the time over which an event occurs you are saving money not only for yourself but for your contractors, suppliers and additional partners.

Protect Your Brand

Your college or university has a mission to uphold. Whether that is academic achievement, student services or excellence in teaching and research, a BCP helps protect your institution’s image, brand and reputation. Unfortunately standard business interruption insurance doesn’t cover reputational damages. A decrease in student recruitment, alumni donations and federal funding are all risks of a tarnished brand. Continuity planning can help institutions be highly responsive despite adverse circumstances and can strengthen and preserve your brand.

It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it. — Benjamin Franklin

Provide Employee Peace of Mind

Your employees are the people who will respond in the case of an incident and a thorough BCP will safeguard them should one occur. As each department completes a BCP the staff will know your institution has their employment and personal well-being at heart. Employees will gain peace of mind as they are informed and rehearsed in what actions to take at the onset of an emergency.

Follow Compliance Standards

Higher education institutions face distinct challenges in planning for possible emergencies in terms of geography, environment, governance and population. With so many federal, state and local compliance requirements a BCP can help institutions identify and follow a diverse set of standards. Have confidence in knowing you are following guidelines such as the Clery Act, HIPAA and FERPA laws by completing a BCP.