Each Higher Education Institution will have their own experiences of responding to the events of the last couple of years as the world has managed through what has been an unprecedented global pandemic as a result of Covid-19. This may have involved sourcing as many laptops as possible to enable staff to work remotely though to providing software packages for students which may have only previously been available on campus. Incident teams were convened to respond to the ever-changing situation which the country faced to consider the impact on their staff and students.

Business continuity requirements have changed within many areas of a College or University having a greater reliance on key IT systems and applications than they may have a couple of years ago. Losing access to buildings will still be important to academic areas but perhaps less of an impact for many professional service departments.

A prolonged IT outage is not something for the IT team to deal with in isolation; if systems are unavailable key questions around processes that need to continue, what can be deferred, and what manual workarounds can be implemented are key questions for the entire senior management team. Understanding the processes undertaken across your institution, their criticality, and the resources needed to ensure they continue within the required timescales should be documented within your business continuity plans.

A Strategic Review of Business Continuity Management is offered to all UMAL members and looks at the plans, processes, and governance that institutions have in place. It might be a timely opportunity to think about how the plans might need updating, or how lessons learnt from the last 18 months or so can be incorporated into these documents. This review is undertaken by Ashton Resilience in partnership with UMAL and is normally completed within one day either on site or remotely. If you’re interested in benefiting from this Strategic Review, please contact [email protected]  (Relationship Manager at UMAL).

Author: Chris Lintern