Continuity Planning

As natural disasters become more common and our reliance on information technology increases, it’s more important than ever that we consider how we would continue to perform our most important work in the face of disruption. Severe winter weather, a data network outage, the unexpected absence of a key colleague: these can all have a significant impact on the university’s ability to continue its mission of teaching, research, and patient care.

The university’s continuity planning program is designed to minimize disruption and rapidly resume operations. Its cornerstone is departmental continuity planning – documented procedures that guide individual departments to respond, recover, resume, and restore their critical functions. Departments often know what coping strategies they would employ, but have not always had the occasion or resources to document that institutional knowledge in a systematic way.

Tufts Continuity Planner guides departments through each step of the planning process. Designed specifically for higher education, it is intuitive, easy-to-use, and requires no training –  think TurboTax®, but for continuity planning. It typically takes just 1-2 months of minimal, part-time effort to complete a continuity plan, because the tool stimulates thoughtful consideration of issues instead of requiring detailed research or leg-work.

Developing a continuity plan allows departments to:

  • Prepare for incidents with the potential to disrupt operations.
  • Carry on critical functions under conditions of diminished resources: loss of space, loss of equipment, loss of IT infrastructure, and high absenteeism.
  • Rapidly resume these functions if they’ve been interrupted.

Get Started

The first step is to identify a Continuity Planning Lead for your department. This is a periodic, part-time assignment to guide your department through the planning process and then annually review the department’s plan using web-based software. An effective lead is usually a staff member who has access to the department’s senior management. The role is part project manager, part group facilitator.