UW Emergency Management

Business, academic & research continuity (BARC)

The Business, Academic and Research Continuity (BARC) program supports the enterprise-wide planning for continuity of operations (COOP) following a major disruption that limits the ability of University of Washington administrative, academic, and research units to meet operational or staffing needs. Through COOP planning, we can all help to maintain the operations, reputation, and revenue of our individual units and the University as a whole.

As a leader in resilience and in an effort to better prepare the University for any interruption, Business Continuity Management planning was mandated in April 2007 by the Office of the President, through the issuance of UW Administrative Policy Statement (APS) 13.2. This APS is intended to support academic and research continuity efforts as well, to produce a holistic emergency preparedness effort that will benefit the University community.  Nearly a decade later, continuity planning was placed into WA State law as a requirement for all State agencies and departments.  The UW’s efforts pre-dated the State law by nearly a decade!

Graphic of Husky dog saying "click here to access your HuskyReady BARC Plan"The BARC program promotes and supports Husky Ready as the primary enterprise-level business online continuity package for all University of Washington locations, both foreign and domestic.  There is NO COST to departments for the use of Husky Ready.  Jim Tritten provides support to all users of this online planning tool.

If you need assistance or have any questions, please reach out to the University’s Continuity & Resiliency Program Manager, Jim Tritten, at jtritten@uw.edu.

What do I need to do to get started?

Each unit should create a continuity plan and house it in the Husky Ready system. Husky Ready is meant to walk you through the necessary steps and data you need to develop your plan. Additionally, our BARC manager can assist you in getting your plan started, understanding the process, exercises, and final approval of your plan.

Tip: Want to break a big project into smaller steps? Try our “Build your plan in a year” pilot

What does APS 13.2 require?

  1. Develop a continuity plan that includes:
    1. Prioritized Critical Functions
    2. Plan for continuing your critical functions despite a loss of resources, specifically:
      – A long-term absentee rate of 25% of more
      – Loss of facility (or facilities) with a named alternate facility
  2. Through various methods and sources. ensure that all staff attend/participate in personal preparedness training.  All continuity depends on staff being ready at home so that they can report to work as soon as possible.
  3. Update your plan annually
  4. Exercise your plan every two years to ensure that actions, priorities, programs and organizational structure in your plan are still valid

How do I make a plan?

The first step is to create your plan! Once the initial plan is written, continuity planning is a continuous cycle of review and revision, as staff, operations, facilities, and technical requirements change. The University of Washington requires that plans be updated annually and exercised bi-annually to be considered up-to-date.


Barc Process Picture

To get your unit’s plan approved (to be compliant with APS13.2):

  1. Start and open a new plan using the free online Husky Ready planning tool
  2. Complete all sections of Husky Ready applicable to your operations or unit.
  3. Develop action items for tasks needed to strengthen your plan
  4. Request review of plan from the UW’s Continuity & Resilience Program Manager.   He will provide detailed comments. and suggested changes/improvements.
  5. Participate in a facilitated table-top discussion (a type of “exercise”) of your plan with the UW’s Continuity & Resilience Program Manager and your unit (email to schedule). There are an number of options available for units to meet this requirement..
  6. Attend a personal preparedness presentation to ensure that you/your staff are ready at home.

What is continuity of operations (COOP) planning?

Continuity of Operations (COOP) planning is the process through which an organization, department, or unit prepares to maintain critical functions despite a major interruption to operations. This interruption could be a fire, an earthquake, a student protest, or something you’ve never even considered. The difference between COOP and other plans around natural disasters and other disaster planning is that COOP focuses after the initial response—it outlines what happens between the incident and normal.

At UW, we take an all-hazards approach to COOP planning to ensure we are not getting too caught up in the “why” of operational disruption, but instead the “how” of restoring operations at various levels of disruption. Often when people think of continuity after a disaster, they assume the entire University, city, or region has been taken down. However, a disruption that happens only to your unit or department, like a fire or loss of fiber optics for example, can put your operations at risk while everyone else in the area is continuing business as normal. Through the process of COOP planning, your unit can explore the key responsibilities you have, what you rely on to meet those responsibilities, and how to pre-plan workarounds. Restoring operations is much easier in an emergency situation when you have a documented set of first steps.

To keep our business, academic, and research operations going without losing valuable data, revenue, or reputation, it is essential that every unit create their own plan—you know your work best; you’re the best person to plan to get back to work.

What is business continuity?

An ongoing planning process to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to identify the impact of potential losses, maintain viable recovery strategies and recovery plans, and continuity of services for all business and administrative units. Business continuity promotes pre-event decision making to address operational disruptions, including working with limited staff, loss of facilities, and loss of systems.

What is academic continuity?

An ongoing planning process to ensure that instruction continues after a disruptive incident. Academic continuity is intended to reduce disruptions in the faculty’s ability to provide instruction and the student’s ability to receive instruction. Academic continuity promotes principles that provide graduate students with assurances that their work will be safe and available to them in the event of a campus disruption.  The UW’s Center for Teaching and Learning has developed a very comprehensive website of resources that can be developed prior to any campus disruption that provides a number of practical options available to teaching staff should the UW suspend normal operations.

What is research continuity?

Research continuity is the process of ensuring that research projects will endure after a disruption in services. This is done by planning and mitigation steps that protect the researcher, data, research subjects, equipment, records and critical supplies that may be impacted by a disruption. A disruption in services may include events such as a power failure, communication disruptions or an inability to access your workplace due to safety or transportation issues.

Helpful links

These links provide additional information and resources available to UW faculty, staff,research departments and historical collections.

How does BARC benefit me?

BARC as a marketplace advantage

Business continuity planning and similar preparedness efforts are often seen as either unrelated to the business plan or, at best, a necessary evil. Businesses that do have a plan seldom review it for consistency with the current state of the business. A plan written three years ago is likely incompatible with the existing business.

The reality is that business continuity is a strategic investment that helps a business stay competitive, even in the face of temporary disruption. Some quick facts provided by the Houston Advanced Research Center:

  • 35 – 40% of businesses disrupted by a disaster without a continuity plan never reopen.
  • Five-year average of U.S. disaster losses is 2.5 billion (pre-Hurricane Katrina).
  • Every dollar spent on disaster mitigation saves $7 in recovering disaster-related economic losses.
  • The rate of occurrence of natural disasters has increased by 40% in the last 15 years.

Every business will face some form of disaster at some time. Those businesses that have prepared will be in a much better position to prevent a serious disruption of their operations. Additionally, prepared businesses will be able to recover in a more cost-efficient, timely manner because much of the initial recovery requirements and resources have already been identified.

Preserve everything you’ve worked so hard for

Whether you’re considering your life’s work in research assets or continuing to make payments on your family home, continuity planning helps your plan to protect against, mitigate, and recover quickly from disaster. Planning to preserve operations keeps losses low, improves your long-term viability, and ensures the strength of the University enterprise-wide. After a major disruption, people are eager to return to normal; the better we plan pre-event, the easier this transition will be.

Disasters create opportunity

Some folks look at business continuity as a necessary burden. You need to have it because your investors or insurance company requires it. The reality is that a well thought-out business continuity plan can actually be a decisive marketplace advantage.

Remember the movie “Forrest Gump?” The Bubba-Gump Shrimp Co. was struggling to get its business off the ground. A large storm hit the area, leaving the local shrimp boats devastated, except for the Bubba-Gump Shrimp boat. That storm created opportunity for the Bubba-Gump Shrimp Co. which was in a good position to take advantage of it. Was the Bubba-Gump Shrimp company lucky?

Seneca, a mid-1st century AD Roman philosopher once said:

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”.

This 2,000-year-old piece of wisdom is still true today. Companies that have developed a vibrant business continuity program and a preparedness mindset will be in a position to take advantage of the opportunities that may arise from a disaster. They will be faster and more efficient in recovery than any competitors that have not developed a business continuity program. When the customers come knocking, it will be on the doors of those that are open for business.