Identify and prioritize the essential resources required to ensure service continuity


Essential resources are resources necessary to the continued functioning or reconstitution of services during and after an emergency. These resources are typically unique and hard to replace. Essential resources therefore include key staff as well as essential assets, data, and systems. Essential resources may need to be protected. Suitable substitutes may need to be provisioned in advance. In the case of data, backups and archives may need to be established.

Many organizations make the mistake of identifying systems, staff, and infrastructure inside the organization while overlooking resources outside the organization on which service continuity also depends. Resources that are commonly overlooked include consumables and vital records (e.g., documents describing legal, financial obligations).

Essential resources can be identified through analyses of the following:

  • Delivery of services
  • Functions essential to service continuity
  • In-service agreements, supplier agreements, and standard service definitions
  • Dependencies among service system components, relevant stakeholders, and the delivery environment

Common resource dependencies include information and data sources from both inside and outside the organization and the key staff who make decisions regarding the service delivery or who are significant contributors to performing service delivery tasks.

Refer to the Integrated Work Management (IWM) (CMMI-SVC) process area for more information about coordinating and collaborating with relevant stakeholders.

Essential resources generally fall into one of the following categories:
  • Emergency operating resources (e.g., key staff, equipment, consumables) necessary to resume disrupted services
  • Legal and financial resources (e.g., contractual documents) that are essential to protect the rights and interests of the organization and individuals directly affected by the emergency

Refer to the PP.SP 2.3 Plan Data Management in the Work Planning process area for more information about data management activities.

Example Work Products

  1. Orders of succession
  2. Delegations of authority
  3. Directory of critical staff with contact information
  4. Data and systems required to support identified essential service functions
  5. Records of service agreements and contracts
  6. Records of legal operating charters (e.g., articles of incorporation, authorization by local, state, national government agencies)
  7. Staff benefit balances, payroll, and insurance records
  8. List of internal and external resources required
  9. List of dependencies and interdependencies of resources


  1. Identify and document internal and external dependencies.
  2. Identify and document key staff and their roles in relation to service delivery.
  3. Identify and document organizational and relevant stakeholder responsibilities.
  4. Identify and document resources required by essential functions to ensure continuity.
  5. Prioritize resources based on an evaluation of impact from their loss or from lack of access.
  6. Ensure that safety provisions are made for staff, both internal and external, within the delivery environment and for organizational supporting functions.
  7. Ensure that records and databases are protected, accessible, and usable in an emergency.