Over the last 10 years, business continuity planning has evolved by repositioning itself from its focus on disaster recovery and information technology. The emphasis for business continuity today is on the organisation's critical business processes that need to be recovered in the event of a disaster for the survival of the organisation. The business continuity process must embrace risk, emergency and recovery planning to manage a crisis or disaster event and have any hope of survival.
Successful implementation of the strategic risk management plan (and business continuity) requires executive management support. Management needs continually to be reminded that the aim of business continuity is to keep the organisation in business in the event of a disaster by maintaining its critical core processes in the delivery of products and services to its internal and external customers. Business unit funding--Many organisations view business continuity funding as a business unit expense and therefore each business unit must fund the cost of its business continuity planning. This result is rather surprising considering that in the last few years organisations have dramatically changed the way they conduct business, in particular, through e-commerce.
Employee induction program--Business continuity education for employees must start from the beginning of their employment and be ongoing throughout their career within the organisation.
Standards associations in some countries are in the process of developing business continuity standards. Identify dependencies and interdependencies of critical business processes and the order in which they must be restored. However, without commitment from the business process owners, the quality of the information may be somewhat subjective.
One of the critical determinants utilised in selecting the business continuity strategy is the recovery time objective (RTO).
The objective of this phase is to develop and document the recovery processes that will ensure business continuity in the event of a disaster in a form that is appropriate for execution under emergency conditions. While the organisation may have a strong business continuity environment with well-developed plans, this may not be the case for many of their strategic business partners. Where the organisation has recognised this risk and contractually requires its strategic business partner to have a BCP, there is no process to ensure that the third-party service provider has developed the BCP or it is exercised on a regular basis. Business continuity planning (BCP) describes the ability of an organization, agency, or business to maintain critical functions of operation in times of uncertainty or organizational imbalance (Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, FFIEC, 2003).
In 2006, The Ohio State University conducted a mock emergency training program, using the Pandemic Flu epidemic as the topic.
Results are based upon data gathered from the two annual testing and evaluation phases as well as the online program evaluations conducted after each phase of the project. Fourth, the database-style software program was a barrier for many county Extension professionals to learn. Better practice entities maintain the business continuity plan to reflect the entity’s objectives, its critical business functions, the corresponding processes and resources and agreed priority for recovery.
Testing the recovery processes documented in the business continuity plan will provide management assurance that these processes will be effective in the case of a business disruption. Note: When the term application(s) is used in the above checklist, it refers to operating system software, support software, utilities, and communication software in addition to end user business applications.
For many organisations, however, senior executives continue to ignore or defer the investment in business continuity believing a disaster would not strike their organisation. Undertaking any of these business continuity activities should form part of a wider planning structure and process and is not an end in itself, but rather a means to an end. Management must be assured that by investing in business continuity it is improving its chance of survival in the event of a disaster and it makes good business sense. As business continuity is viewed as an organisational responsibility and part of the cost of being in business, funding is provided at a corporate level.
The disadvantage with this strategy is that the business unit managers, who often are under pressure to control costs, will target business continuity as a candidate for cost cutting as it is seen as an easy target. However, one of the outcomes of the business impact analysis provides the organisation with an indication of the financial impact if a disaster did strike the organisation.
In the last two years, answers to questions on expenditures indicated there has been no major increase in expenditure by organisations on business continuity. The employee induction program introduces the employee at a high level to the organisation's policies and processes. He has 20 years' audit experience with more than 10 years' business continuity experience both in the public and private sectors. Within this curriculum, a template was developed for each county Extension office to satisfy the university's software program.
Therefore, the recovery plan was based on a uniform prioritization of business functions throughout all 88 Ohio county offices. The benefit of this strategy is that business continuity will have a strong and continuous commitment from executive management. The advantage with this approach is that IT departments historically have a good understanding of the need to have a business continuity plan.


It is here that the employee is first introduced to the organisation's business survival strategy.In the business continuity segment, the concepts of business continuity are outlined and discussed. However, for developed education in-house, there is a need to ensure that business continuity is included and builds upon what was presented in the employee induction program. Phase 2 developed a recovery process consisting of a business impact analysis in which recovery time objectives determined the priority for resuming various responsibilities within the county office. Likewise, 72% of participants felt their office would be better prepared to react to a disaster than prior to the training program. Proactive planning to address budget shortfalls: The Rutgers Cooperative Extension Experience. Without having a risk management program whereby the local authorities advise of changes in the region, the change in flood rating may not have been detected. The following checklist may assist entities in maintaining their business continuity plans.
Explanatory material about testing the business continuity plan can be found on this page of the better practice guide.
While the concept of community sustainability and resiliency is an identified function of the Cooperative Extension Service, it is possible for this topic to not be at the forefront of county Extension programming. Yet an Extension office can be the cornerstone of scientific and educational resources when it comes to emergency response; county educators often serve as that critical communication link for families, communities, and area businesses affected by disaster (Boteler, 2007). The university selected an online software program, Living Disaster Recovery Planning System (LDRPS), in which all plans were created.
In order to efficiently and succinctly implement the Ohio BCP program the project team organized the approach into two phases. To ensure consistency throughout all county offices, project staff developed a curriculum to describe key terminology and processes that occur during emergency planning, including the primary reasons for implementing an emergency action plan. Following Phase 1, a formative program evaluation was electronically administered to each Plan Owner and Manager. Following Phase 2, a summative program evaluation was electronically administered to each Plan Owner and Manager. Training for Phase 2 was conducted for 33 counties representing 89% of the counties eligible to advance to Phase 2 planning. Through this experience, county staff identified several needs that were not in practice prior to this planning effort. Business continuity plans (BCP) are no longer a luxury, but an essential element of an organisation's risk management programme. Developing a business continuity culture in any organisation is a significant undertaking, particularly if the organisation has traditionally seen business continuity as an information technology risk and not an organisation-wide issue.
The key to developing a business continuity culture is the ongoing commitment of executive management. Information technology funding--A number of organisations view business continuity as an information technology issue, rather than a corporate or business unit issue. Commitment by management extends to the implementation of an education program that is supported by adequate funding and resourcing. Employee training program--Organisations offer education programs (in-house, external or professional associations) to enhance their skill set. The objective of phase 1 is to establish a sound framework for the development of the business continuity plan to ensure the project will achieve its strategic goal. The organisation's recovery strategy needs to be developed for the recovery of the core business processes.
Recovery of selected business units' critical business processes (as identified in the business impact analysis) using business continuity plan recovery procedures. Business continuity is an integral part of the organisation's day-to-day business processes.
It is important that, once business continuity has been recognised as a critical component of the organisation's risk management programme, the organisational processes embrace the concept and continue to support it.
This is of particular relevance where many organisations today conduct a large portion of their business through e-commerce.
This type of training program is targeted for employees who will have responsibility for the development and maintenance of the BCP for either their business unit or the organisation. Another benefit for a county office to have a Business Continuity Plan lies in the efforts to recover business functions following a localized disruption. It contained primary business functions for which each county office had responsibility in Government and Media Relations, Human Resources, Fiscal, and Customer Service Communications. The floor in question may have been designated as the area for another business unit to occupy during a disaster event.
Each workshop was 2 hours in length, with the first hour devoted to learning the management concepts related to business continuity planning and the second hour dedicated to hands-on work in the participant's county office LDRPS account. Having a quality business continuity plan increases county Extension offices' capacity to continue business operations during an emergency or recovery quickly following a localized disruption.


From the diagram, it can be seen that business continuity is one of the strategies the organisation employs to mitigate its risks. By implementing the restacking requirements, however, the business unit's business continuity strategy was compromised. Business continuity is particularly important for agencies involved in community emergency response. This evaluation-based program model was selected as the most appropriate model to develop the Ohio BCP program. However, 41% reported completing a BCP plan took valuable time away from their programming efforts.
First, the university-purchased software package was developed for business application and was difficult to translate to an organization like Extension. The technology of the program was beyond what was actually needed to produce this type of planning document on the scale needed by an Extension county office. However the development and implementation strategies are described so that others can understand the potential challenges and opportunities when considering statewide business continuity plans.
It appears there has been little or no research undertaken on quantifying how much organisations are spending on business continuity. Business continuity training program--Many organisations either have developed their own business continuity training program or utilise the services of external parties. Recovery of all of the business unit's critical business processes (as identified in the business impact analysis) using business continuity plan recovery procedures.
A strong business continuity environment provides assurance to the organisation's executive management that in the event of a disaster, the organisation is in a superior position to survive. Executive managers who fail to take action to protect their organisation will be held accountable by the shareholders, strategic business partners, regulatory authorities or other interested parties. He has published a large number of papers on IS auditing and business continuity in Australia and the US. Due to the turnover of county directors, the workshop began with a review of Phase 1 concepts in addition to the Phase 2 recovery of business operations. The disadvantage with this approach is that it focuses only on the IT dependency of the organisation and not on other critical business processes and dependencies that are outside of IT.
Balancing work and family in cooperative extension: History, effective programs, and future directions. The need for Business Continuity Planning was implemented in Ohio as a statewide initiative for all university departments, including county Extension offices.
Likewise, other OSUE educators and office staff had limited to no experience with emergency or disaster planning as it related to their function or their work environment. Due to the turnover of county Extension directors, the workshop began with a review of Phase 1 concepts in addition to the Phase 2 recovery of business operations. Two internationally recognised professional associations are dedicated to business continuity with BCP standards. The following business continuity maintenance schedule (See figure 4) compares the frequency of the static and dynamic review processes for a business continuity plan.
Without this integration, the organisation's risks relating to a disaster significantly increase as the organisation continues to change to meet the dynamic requirements of today's business environment. Further, an explanation is given with examples of how the employee's future role and responsibilities may interact with the organisation's busines continuity processes.
This article presents Ohio's commitment to ensure emergency preparedness of its Extension county offices using business continuity plans. It was evident that groundwork was needed to educated staff in county offices about disaster preparedness strategies and that immediate adoption of a BCP program may be met with resistance, merely for the fact of not understanding its benefits. Figure 1 depicts the Ohio Business Continuity Planning Program in the format of the Logic Model. As organisations continually reengineer their processes by integrating with those of their suppliers, strategic business partners and customers, the level of risk increases and the recovery time window shortens. This will ensure that employees' awareness of business continuity is maintained and enhanced. Internal environment—Any proposed physical infrastructure changes must be communicated to ensure potential risks to the existing business continuity plan(s) can be assessed. The necessary infrastructure for the successful execution of the business continuity plan had been previously established. However, too often organisations do not have a business continuity policy that broadly states the organisation's objectives for its survival.



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