University of Illinois Ready


-University of Illinois Ready- is a continuity planning tool that is specific to institutions of higher education. Its aim is to increase the institution's ability to keep operating in the face of disruptive events. Based on the premise that planning for resilient operations must engage all subunits of the campus, it employs a self-guided, easy-to-use methodology that requires essentially no user-training.



The "business" of higher education is teaching, research, and public service. In some cases (medical centers & health sciences schools) the "business" also includes patient care. For higher education, these four functions are the " business" in business continuity planning.
Because these core functions of higher education are not commonly referred to as "business", the -University of Illinois Ready- tool uses the term "continuity planning". The word "business" does not appear in the on-screen tool.

Departmental Focus

The -University of Illinois Ready- tool produces departmental continuity plans, and can be used by any type of department - instructional, research, support, administrative, collections (libraries, museums) and clinical.

The Product.

The departmental continuity plan can be printed as a document and contains -
  • Prioritized list of the department's critical functions, with details of eachSpecific section on continuity of IT
  • Specific section on continuity of instruction (if applicable)
  • Lists of 10 types of key resources, with details
  • Repository of key documents
  • High-level recovery strategies for all functions
  • Action items to achieve a better state of readiness. These action items embody the central premise of continuity planning: that the most effective way to cope with disaster is to get ready ahead of time.


The -University of Illinois Ready- tool uses an all-hazards approach. This means that it aims to increase the organization's readiness for all types & sizes of disaster events

  • Natural disasters (regional earthquake, fire in your offices, infectious disease epidemic, unexpected death of a key employee, etc.
  • Technological disasters (data loss, connectivity loss, equipment failure, etc.
  • Human-caused disasters (terrorism, theft, civil disturbance, cyber attack, etc.).

Accepted Methodology.

The -University of Illinois Ready- tool uses the accepted methodology of the business continuity planning profession. The core of University of Illinois Ready's uniqueness is that it adapts this methodology (developed in the corporate sector) to the circumstances & culture of higher education.


In sum, the -University of Illinois Ready- tool brings to the campus a lean and do-able approach to continuity planning. It collects important information & strategies. Most importantly, it guides the user to answer the question "What are the things we need to do to become ready?" and offers a way to track the implementation of those readiness action items.



We’ve simplified processes and reduced the number of clicks between screens. We have updated the navigation to be more user friendly and intuitive. Reports and plans can now be viewed on-screen, and the application is mobile ready and accessible. Below, we explain the biggest changes.


Continuous Delivery/Deployment

The new technology stack allows us to fix bugs and add enhancements without making you wait for official releases. Bug fixes can be pushed to the production environment immediately. Enhancements that don’t have a major impact on the user experience are added as soon as they’re available. With new features that might need explanation, we will announce the changes before release.

Mark Plan Complete and Annual Review

Rather than provide separate screens to mark plans and annual review complete, we’ve created a Plan Status screen that allows you to select between statuses and add comments with each update. This is the first step toward major improvements that give you more flexibility. You can now add comments to updates and enter names and roles without having to select from system role and name options.

  Plans Screen

You no longer have to click through multiple welcome screens to access the Plans screen. It is now the first page you access when you log in. You can get back to it from any screen in the application by clicking either the logo at the top left or the Plans link in the global navigation. The Plans screen now includes a Last Updated column, rather than Last Accessed. Note that users will only see the plans that they personally have access to on the Plans page. Users with no plan access can still create their own plan by selecting the Start a new Plan button.

Plan View

In the old application you had to generate a PDF in order to view a plan. You can now view plans directly on the screen by selecting the Print PDF icon within the guidance panel on any page within a plan. You will then get an in application view of the plan and you can also print the PDF from that view.

Edit and View Modes

All plans now have two modes of presenting content: Edit and View modes. From the Plans page select the view or edit icons to open a plan in that mode. You can switch between modes at any time using the icons within the guidance panel.

Manage Plan Access

When you create a plan, you’re automatically assigned the Plan Manager role, which replaces the Gatekeeper role in the old system. Plan Managers can use the Manage Plan Access link in the plan navigation to add other users, including additional Plan Managers, to plans. There are three user roles for plans. Plan Managers can view and edit plans and Manage Plan Access. Plan Editors can view and edit plans. Plan Viewers can view plans, but cannot edit them.