Beck Disaster Recovery Presentation



What is Continuity of Operations Planning?

Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP): COOP Planning addresses three scenarios: The effort to ensure that essential functions can continue across a wide range of potential emergencies. It is the process of maintaining the business of the University. 1. Loss of access to a facility (as in a fire); 2. Loss of services due to a reduction in workforce (as in pandemic influenza); and 3. Loss of services due to a systems failure (as in IT or communications systems failure).

COOP Purpose


       Ensure the continuous performance of an organization’s

essential functions

during an emergency; Ensure the safety of employees; Protect essential equipment, records and other assets; Reduce disruptions to operations; Minimize damage and losses; Achieve an

orderly recovery

operations; and from emergency Identify relocation sites and ensure operational and managerial requirements are met before an emergency occurs.


All Hazards Approach to COOP Planning

What is the difference between a COOP Plan and an Emergency Response Plan?

VT Emergency Response Plan  Immediate actions taken to respond to an event  Guidance on Department Emergency Action Plan  Building evacuation instructions  Fire alarm drills  Emergency Response actions  COOP Plan  Planning for “after the response”  Continuing operations of department in primary or alternate facility  Protecting vital records  Ensuring leadership of department



Industry Standards

        Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) Standards (2003, 2004) National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1600 FEMA Interim Guidance Document on COOP Planning Federal Preparedness Circular-65 National Incident Management System (NIMS) FEMA Disaster-Resistant University Guidance NIST – Contingency Planning Standard for IT VDEM’s COOP Planning Manual for Institutions of Higher Education


Virginia COOP Authorities

Executive Order 44 (2007)

 Each executive branch agency including institutions of higher education with guidance from their Emergency Coordination Officer:    Create or update Continuity of Operation Plans to conform to the template produced by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and Utilize the resources available from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management for creating or updating Continuity of Operations Plans. “The process of creating or updating Continuity of Operations Plans shall be completed by April 1 of each year…”

§ 44-146.18 Code of Virginia (2005)

 “The … Department of Emergency Management shall in the administration of emergency services and disaster preparedness program … provide guidance and assistance to state agencies and units of local government in developing and maintaining emergency management and continuity of operations (COOP) programs, plans and systems…”

Executive Order 69 (2004)

 All executive branch agencies are directed to exercise and test their COOP plans on or before Sept 1, 2005.

Executive Order 65 (2004)

 Assigns each designated state department or agency to appoint a lead and one alternate Emergency Coordination Officer for the agency. Included in their responsibilities is the coordination on emergency preparedness, response, and recovery issues.


Key COOP Goals for Virginia Tech

     People will know who is in charge; There will be trained backup personnel; There will be predefined alternate work locations; Essential functions, vital systems, data and information will be able to be recovered quickly; and Predefined checklists will guide the organization in responding to an event.

Key COOP Objectives for Virginia Tech


      Ensure the safety of students, employees and visitors; Provide COOP activation and implementation guidance; Essential functions will be operational no later than 12 hours after activation; Essential functions will be capable of operation for up to 30 days at the alternate site; Regular training, testing and exercising of COOP personnel, equipment, processes and procedures will occur; and COOP Plan will be activated with and without warning.


9 Elements of a COOP Plan










Essential Functions Delegations of Authority Orders of Succession Alternate Facilities Interoperable Communications Vital Records, Systems and Equipment Human Capital Management Tests, Training and Exercises Reconstitution


Essential Functions

 Activities, processes or functions which could not be interrupted or unavailable for several days without significantly jeopardizing operations of the University  Examples of essential functions  Teaching  Ensuring access to vital records, i.e. grades  Conducting research  Essential functions only --not everything the department is responsible for


Delegations of Authority

  Delegations of authority specify who is authorized to make decisions or act on behalf of key department personnel Delegation planning involves:      Identifying which authorities can and should be delegated; Describing the circumstances under which the delegation would be exercised, including when it would become effective and terminate; Identifying limitations of the delegation; Documenting to whom authority should be delegated; and Ensuring designees are trained to perform their emergency duties.

Orders of Succession


  Orders of Succession provide for an orderly and predefined transition of key departmental leadership Succession of Leadership planning involves:     Identifying the key leadership positions that require Orders of Succession; Describing the conditions under which the succession would be exercised, including when it would become effective and terminate; Identifying limitations of the succession; and Documenting the designated successors.


Alternate Facility

  Pre-position, maintain or provide for minimum essential equipment for continued operations of critical processes at the alternate facility There are several types of alternate facilities with different readiness levels:    Hot Site—all systems and records necessary to begin operations; Warm Site—some systems and records available, but requires some time and additional resources to become fully operational; and Cold Site—a location with no pre-installed systems or records from which to begin operations. Least expensive option, but it takes the most time to begin recovery or reconstitution operations.


Selecting an Alternate Facility

 Factors to consider in selecting an alternate facility  Location – Risk-free environment, geographically dispersed   Construction – Safe from high-risk areas Space – Space for personnel, equipment and systems       Transportation – Consider public access, public transportation, proximity to hotels and restaurants Communications – Support data and telephone communication requirements Security – Controlled access Life Sustaining – Access to life sustaining essentials such as food, water and lodging Site Preparation Requirements – Time, effort and cost required to make ready Maintenance – Degree of maintenance required to keep the facility ready


Interoperable Communications

 Ability to communicate to all members of the University community  Alert and Notification methods and redundancies

Vital Records, Systems and Equipment


 Records, files, systems, documents, equipment or databases, which would require extensive effort and/or expense to recreate or replace if damaged or destroyed  Due to legal, regulatory or operational reasons, access to these records, systems or equipment cannot be lost or damaged without severely impacting the department's ability to function


Human Capital Management

 Ensuring essential functions continues even with reduced staffing  Trained, back up personnel who can fill a recovery team position when the primary staff person is unavailable


Test, Training and Exercises

 COOP Program Management specifies regular testing and exercising of plan  Revise plan after each test/exercise  Train to execute plan


“Work the Plan”

 Planning is a journey.

Work does not end with the development and implementation of a COOP plan     Distribution and Communication Training   Key Personnel Refresher at Alternate Site Testing and Exercises Revising and Updating   Establish review cycle (coordinate with budget cycle) Update plans with material changes (moves, new systems, employee turnover)