UW Emergency Management

July 31, 2018

Build Your Husky Ready Plan in a Year: Month 7

This post is part of a 2018 series breaking the process of business continuity planning for University of Washington departments into monthly tasks to help build a plan in a year

Last month we detailed the IT systems and applications that are used daily to support business, and that would be used to drive our critical functions. Now we shift to addressing how to restore IT functions should an event limit access to files or destroy equipment.

When you wrote each of your critical functions you were asked to address how to complete the function despite a loss of network connectivity. What we talk about here has to do with restoring equipment and applications. Additionally, we will address who set up to work from home after a business disruption and how.

Build your plan in a year: Month 7 (2 Hours)

Step one: How to restart (1 hour)
  • We have considered ways to continue work despite a loss of network or computers, but those workarounds are not meant to be a permanent solution. The goal here is to get computer systems and workstations set up again. This could go very quickly, or you can get in-depth. We recommend leaning in-depth!
  • Answer the questions in the section “How to Restart” under “Information Technology.” If you have IT staff they can assist you with this section.
  • Identify the equipment and software that is most needed. For software, include links to download the software and any software keys you have that would allow you to set them up. Add this to you documents in “Documents” under “Key Resources.”
  • If any of your IT suggestions require pre preparation, add them to “action items” under “Information Technology.”
    • Upload any and all documents and SOPs you may need to continue your work or reestablish your It systems
    • Are there ways to continue your business without the IT systems you usually use? Are they accessible from any computer, or only a computer on the network? How can this be tackled?
Step two: Work from home (1 hour)
  • Many of us already telecommute–sometimes we’re home with a sick kid, or not feeling well ourselves. Because of this, we may believe everyone on our staff is ready to work from home during continuity of operations. However that may be more complicated then it seems: The process you use on a normal day may not be available to you after a business disruption; people who can work from home may be essential to have on site; and once you narrow your business to critical functions you may find it is better to have everyone in the same room. Consider these factors as you develop your work from home list. This is not simply a list of people who are able or allowed to work from home generally; this is about who can/should work from home (or another remote location) during continuity of operations.
  • Start with the people who have responsibility for critical functions, or listed in your key people, because their ability to work from home is of the most interest to you. Add them to “Work from Home” under “Key Resources.”
    • You have a comment box; use this if you want to qualify when this person can work from home. For example “Susan may work from home after the initial incident response, but if expected to report to campus for at least the first three working days after a disruption.” Or “Andre may work from home if an incident occurs May – September, but should report to campus otherwise.”
    • The system will ask “Must their office computer be running to connect from home?” This is the million dollar question! Most people at the University who connect from home do so using remote desktop, but that means their computer at the office must be online to connect. Obviously in a power outage or fair, this might not be an option. So what are the options? A remote connection into the UW Network! UW-IT can assist you with this–please visit their page on Connecting to UW Networks and take a look on their information on Husky OneNet.
    • Get everyone who is going to work from home set up with a remote VPN through UW-IT
    • Explore the UW-IT Resources for working during emergencies: https://itconnect.uw.edu/work/emergency/


Through this process we have started to think about preparing staff for their role in continuity of operations. Next month we will address how to prepare staff at home so they are available if the time comes to continue operations despite a disaster, and assign roles a head of time so everyone can hit the ground running.