Business Continuity for Educational Institutions

These past two years of uncertainty and constant pivot, especially for academic institutions, taught us that staying prepared for change (sometimes overnight change) is something we all must adopt a mindset for.


In the spring of 2020, school administrators were forced to completely reinvent the education delivery system and roll out a remote learning environment in a manner of days. IT departments were forced to implement robust, user friendly and secure remote learning environments without any preparation and testing. No one expected the pandemic, but even less expected a threat of lockdown again one year after the vaccine was made available.

Building resilience to rapidly changing times requires many things, including the right technology, stakeholder commitment and planning.

Eisenhower's quote highlights the need to constantly plan, revise, plan and revise to remain well prepared for changing times and circumstances.

  • Business Continuity Planning (“BCP”) is the process of finding potential weakness in a school’s operations and creating protocols to deal with them when disruption occurs.

  • Disaster Recovery Planning (“DRP”) Is a set of tools and procedures that allow the restoration of vital institutional information, processes and/or systems following a disaster or loss of the primary sources.

Both Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery Planning keep operations as resilient as possible. Something schools can’t afford to ignore or push to the back burner. Most of the things we worry about – and plan for -- rarely happen; it’s the things we never think of that do the most harm. Even if an academic institution keeps a backup, it’s important to understand how long it will take to restore operations. Until this happens, a “recovery” can’t be declared.


Any significant disruption can unfold quickly and in unanticipated ways. From weather to power outages, political events or virus outbreaks, every organization needs a business continuity plan to ensure its operations can continue, no matter the disruption.


With the right preparation, schools can reap the benefits of a Business Continuity Plan

that includes Disaster Recovery.


These benefits include:

- Limit Interruptions. Remove the need to handle each crisis as an independent event. With a Business Continuity Plan, a school can standardize their disruption response to minimize downtime. . - Outline Alternatives. Plan B is part of planning. Have a plan to pivot when it’s declared the doors must close, remote learning must kick-in (again) and the faculty needs contingency. - Empower Employees. Business continuity planning ensures every stakeholder is on the same page during a crisis. With a set protocol, teachers and administrators know how to carry on with their jobs, contribute to recovery and ensure consistency, which provides peace of mind.


Business Continuity Planning starts with finding internal challenges. While there are many factors that can contribute to a crisis, such as economic volatility, faculty safety and/or government advisories, a lack of planning and/or obsolete technology should not compound the path to resiliency. Even after two years of a global pandemic, many institutions continue to rely on outdated tools and systems that compound crises. During early pandemic-related shutdowns, many schools discovered that their pen-and-paper systems made it difficult to respond quickly to necessary changes.

When information lives in only one location and has only one path for access it runs the risk of getting lost forever. Imagine compounding an extremely challenging time trying to recover from a disaster while also trying to run payroll and keep up with trying to recover from a disaster while also trying to run payroll and keep with parent demand.

Modernizing technology helps cut internal bottlenecks and gain access to essential information anytime, anywhere.


Modernizing technology doesn't

necessarily mean a huge capital investment.



A combination of the right protocols, training, software and hardware can create an effective Business Continuity Plan.


Schools must remain ready for the next disruption, whether it’s a natural disaster or a data breach and the best time to start planning is now!

 

Roark Tech Services is an expert in Business Continuity Planning, including Disaster Recovery options, uniquely qualified to help schools stay safe & competitive.

Always consult with us first.

If you don’t have an IT Partner that you can trust to give you the right support and advice, we’d love to help. Contact us.

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