The University Record, October 9, 2000

Business continuity planning will help ensure business-as-usual

By Wanda Monroe
Office of the Chief Information Officer

Gloria Thiele (left) is the team leader for the Business Continuity Planning project. The University is applying lessons learned from Y2K preparation to offset potential problems--ice storms, major power outages and system failures, for example, that might hamper its ability to conduct business as usual. Photo by Rebecca A. Doyle
On Sept. 14, representatives of units across campus participated in a “Business Continuity Planning” training session with a goal of building on and further developing information collected during the preparation for Y2K. The intent of the planning effort is to ensure the University is able to continue its day-to-day operations in the event of a technology outage or other disaster.

“The purpose of this exercise is to make sure we have in place processes and procedures that allow the University to continue to operate regardless of any crisis,” said Josť-Marie Griffiths, university chief information officer (CIO).

The training session focused on the unit representatives’ roles and responsibilities. Gloria Thiele, assistant to the CIO, reviewed some of the lessons learned during the Y2K contingency planning effort, and demonstrated the Business Continuity Planning Web site that provides the process to ensure easy update and status of planning activities.

A secure Web site where unit representatives can log on with a password to update necessary supporting information was introduced. George Cubberly, assistant manager of finance, Risk Management, encouraged attendees to update this “living document” when there are changes in personnel, including reassignment of duties and reporting relationships; organization; environment; business processes; application/software; technical and infrastructure; and renovations and logistics (re-keying doors, heating, ventilation, etc.).

Cubberly also reviewed high-probability events, such as wind, ice storms and fire, that can interrupt power. Other problems that can slow or halt business include attacks on system integrity, such as hackers and electronic mail spamming, and communication failure.

Each unit’s plan will describe measures and recovery actions that ensure the University’s essential processes continue regardless of whether systems are operational or facilities and infrastructure services are available.

The unit representatives were asked to review and update the “Business Continuity Plans” by the end of this month, when summary forms are due. A campaign to ensure the plans are in place will occur each fall. The campaign will be timed to coordinate with Washtenaw County Emergency Management Division’s Operations Plan.

For staff interested in attending, the next training session is scheduled for 2:30–4 p.m. Oct. 18 in the Kipke Conference Center, room 2029. Please R.S.V.P. to Chris Butchart-Bailey by sending e-mail to chrisbu@umich.edu.

Members of the Business Continuity Planning group, established by Griffiths last February, include Terry Alexander, Occupational Safety/Environmental Health; Kim Cobb, Information Technology Central Services; George Cubberly, Risk Management; Tony Denton and Tom Peterson, Health System; Myles Murphy, University Audits; and Bob Patrick, Department of Public Safety. Thiele is the group leader. She can be reached by calling (734) 763-5404 or by sending e-mail to gthiele@umich.edu.

For more information about Business Continuity Planning for the University, visit the Web at www.cio.umich.edu/office/bus-cont/.