I received a telephone call from a client the other day. They wanted to know if I could give them a copy of their Business Continuity Plan in Microsoft Word, and update the section on IT recovery. Apparently, the person who was calling me needed to include the Plan in a proposal to a potential customer, and only had a PDF version that was three years out of date. This individual was not the person who was responsible for updating the Plan, which is produced as a PDF document from a proprietary Business Continuity system. I explained that I did not have access to that system, and that she should talk to the person who was responsible for the maintenance of the Plan. Besides, I knew nothing about their current IT recovery. Apparently, the person who was responsible for updating the Plan was on holiday. Could I do something for her as she had to have the Plan updated to send out the next day! Talk about leaving things to the last minute.
Being a helpful sole I told her that if someone could send me details of their current IT recovery then I could produce an updated version of the Plan for her in Word, but once the person responsible for updating the Plan returned from holiday it really needed to be updated properly using the proprietary Business Continuity system. She told me that they were prepared to pay for the work, and that the cost wasn’t really an issue. This was a licence to print money, but I didn’t charge them more than I normally would have done as I wanted to keep the client. They obviously needed further assistance.
I converted the Plan from a PDF to Word, included the IT recovery details that were sent to by their IT expert, changed the date on the Plan (not to today’s date, that would be a bit too obvious to the potential customer) and returned it with warning that it was out of date and needed to be properly updated.
Now, is this typical of most organisations? Do they update their Plan only when someone asks to see it?