Business Continuity

Business Continuity

Business Continuity is the ability to maintain critical University services and functions during or after an event that causes an unplanned outage or disruption—an event that is beyond the ability of an organization’s staff and management to control. It is a process used to restore operations, including information systems, networks, hardware, software and people—not just data.

Planning Services

Penn State Ready
This Web-based tool assists units in documenting a comprehensive Business Continuity Plan, including critical functions, resources, and dependencies; it also includes the ability to attach documentation. There is no cost for accessing or using the tool.

For more information, see the Penn State Ready section below.

Business Impact Analysis Software Tool (BIA)
This Web-based tool assists units in conducting a survey to determine the probability and impact of various risks and assists in identifying and prioritizing critical functions. There is no cost for using this tool.

Consultant Services
The Business Continuity Consultant is available to assist units in understanding the process of Business Continuity Planning and aid units in determining which AIS service(s) will be most appropriate for their needs. The Business Continuity Consultant is a resource on best practices and is a conduit between Emergency Management and EHS at the University.

Penn State Ready

Penn State Ready is a continuity planning tool designed specifically for higher education. Penn State Ready utilizes accepted continuity planning methodology but is adapted to the circumstances and culture of higher education. The goal of the planning process is to increase the institutions ability to continue operating during and after a disruptive event.


  • Focused at the department level: Penn State Ready produces plans at a departmental level and can be used by any type of department–instructional, research, support, administrative, libraries, museums and even clinical. The completion of the exercise will produce a department continuity plan.
  • Self-guided: The Penn State Ready tool internally contains all of the information and guidance needed for its use, without lengthy training sessions and large user manuals. Many departments will be able to use the tool without training, but a one-hour training session is available by contacting Continuity Services.
  • Lean content, clear purpose: Penn State Ready collects only essential data. It avoids overly-detailed recovery strategies making the planning process quick and focused on providing information when needed in an emergency.
  • All Hazards Approach: The plan utilizes an “all-hazards” encompassing natural, technological, and human-caused disasters.

Plan Outputs

  • Prioritized list, and details of, the departments Critical Functions
  • High-level Recovery Strategies for all functions
  • List of Key Resources with details
  • Specific section for continuity of Instruction, if that department delivers instruction
  • Specific section for continuity of IT
  • Repository of Key Documents
  • Action Items:
    • As the plan is being developed, weaknesses and issues within the processes, policies, and activities conducted by the department will be identified. These issues will be captured in plan “Action Items.”
    • The department-level plans identify both action items that can be accomplished by the department and action items that must be solved at a higher level of the university.
    • By correcting the Action Item issues before a disaster, the department will be better able to withstand the effects of the event.

Additional Information

For additional Penn State Ready information, contact Continuity Services.

Help & Support

AIS Support
Phone: (814)863-2276
Office: 204 Wagner Building