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Building a Plan

Important Considerations When Building a Plan

Below are some helpful tips to consider when building your business continuity plan.


Protection of life and safety for the University community always come first. From there, focus on preserving the viability of our core campus missions (education and research) and the reputation of Northwestern. Lastly, should be the restoration of administrative processes not critical to our mission.

Critical Functions

Critical functions have a direct and immediate effect on the general university in terms of the loss of life, personal injury, loss of property, and/or the ability of the University to have even basic operations. It’s imperative that a plan be developed to maintain critical functions if at all possible.  

Essential Functions

Essential functions provide necessary services to the institution and community which are not deemed critical in nature. The loss of these functions could cause a service or operational disruption, but not rise to a business critical situation.


Consider what departments, systems, equipment, or processes your unit depends on in order to operate. Similarly, consider what other units depend on you in order to complete their work.


The nature of operations and risk may vary depending on the time of year, or even the time of day. When developing your plan, determine whether certain areas may only be critical or essential during key parts of the year.

For additional information, please contact Luke Figora, Senior Associate Vice President and Chief Risk & Compliance Officer Risk, Internal Audit & Compliance, at 847.491.7696 or