Business Continuity Planning vs. Disaster Recovery Planning
Disaster Recovery ConsultingIn case of a catastrophic event, whether natural or man-made, a sound business continuity/disaster recovery (DR/BC) strategy can make the difference between a business glitch and a calamity. Progent's DR/BC consultants can help small and mid-size companies design and test a contingency plan that incorporates advanced technologies and proven processes to get back in business quickly after a catastrophic network failure while at the same time working within a restricted IT budget.

The terms "business continuity planning" and "disaster recovery planning" are often used interchangeably, but it is useful to distinguish them. Business continuity planning takes a high-level, holistic view of a business to determine what personnel, physical resources, and operational processes are required to keep an organization running at some minimally acceptable level after a catastrophe and how to restore normal operations efficiently. Business continuity planning takes into account information technology issues, which are vital to any business, but also addresses areas beyond computing. Will you need temporary office space? Substitute vehicles? Alternate vendors? Replacement personnel? Do you have an emergency notification system in place to alert workers and other stakeholders? Are you required to file regulatory reports or contact insurers? Do you need access to emergency funding? Progent can provide the services of experienced consultants who can help you follow best practices to create and document a high-level business continuity plan that deals with these critical questions and provides a cohesive game plan to follow in case of a disaster.

Disaster recovery planning is more focused on information technology issues and involves the down-to-earth details of how to keep your crucial IT operations running, protect your data, and restore full network functionality as quickly as practical. Progent can provide the services of a certified IT professional who can help you create and implement a disaster recovery plan that utilizes the latest generation of technologies designed to provide a high degree of fault tolerance and recoverability at historically low prices.

What Is Involved in Developing a Disaster Recovery Plan?
It is still relatively rare for small businesses to have a comprehensive business continuity plan in place, but only businesses with an insatiable appetite for risk should go without a disaster recovery plan. Disaster recovery planning should address the IT resources needed to maintain a defined level of operational capability and restore full network functionality as quickly as practical. The plan should anticipate a broad variety of disaster scenarios such as fires, storms, earthquakes, chemical accidents, flooding, pandemics, loss of key personnel, equipment or system failure, human error, and cyber crime.

You should assess the worst-case impact of each of these disaster scenarios on your network infrastructure and business processes and prioritize the areas that are most critical for you to protect in order to limit business disruption to an acceptable level. For each scenario, you should develop a recovery strategy that addresses your local and remote workers, customers, vendors, facilities, hardware and software, communication services, support contracts, and lead-times for replacing equipment and services and restoring data. Your recovery strategies should include specific action plans, escalation procedures, and data retention and restoration policies. You should also test the plan and train your employees responsible for carrying it out.

Progent's Process for Creating a Disaster Recovery Plan
Progent has developed an effective and affordable process for helping small business create a viable disaster recovery plan. This process involves seven distinct phases:

Phase 1: Business Impact and Risk Analysis
In this phase, you differentiate between critical and non-critical organization functions. A function is critical if its loss for any significant period of time would result in damage that stakeholders regard as unacceptable. You can't realistically decide that all network functions are critical because you have to consider the probable cost of establishing and maintaining rapid business or technical recovery solutions. You also have to take into account that some functions may be dictated by law or contractual obligations. Progent can help you make informed prioritization decisions by assessing the cost and timing issues associated with various recovery strategies.

Once you have identified critical organization functions, you have to establish two values for each function:

  • Recovery Point Objective (RPO) - the acceptable latency of data that will be recovered
  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO) - the acceptable amount of time to restore the function
The Recovery Point Objective must ensure that the Maximum Tolerable Data Loss for each activity is not exceeded. The Recovery Time Objective must ensure that the Maximum Tolerable Period of Disruption (MTPD) for each activity is not exceeded.

The Impact and Risk Analysis phase results in the recovery requirements for each critical function. The recovery requirements consist of:

  • The business requirements for recovery of the critical function
  • The technical requirements for recovery of the critical function
Phase 2: Recovery Requirement Documentation
After you complete the Business Impact and Risk Analysis phase, the business and technical plan requirements have to be documented before you can move on to the solution design and implementation phases. Progent is experienced in generating this vital documentation quickly and can work with your asset management team, if you have one, to identify available and re-allocateable resources you can use for disaster recovery.

Phase 3: Solution Design
The goal of the Solution Design phase is to identify the most cost-effective disaster recovery solution that meets the requirements identified in the Business Impact and Risk Analysis stage. For your critical IT applications, this means determining how the minimum application and application data requirements can be restored within the target timeframe. Disaster recovery plans may also have to address areas beyond IT applications. A common example is the requirement to preserve information in hard copy format. Progent's expertise with Microsoft and Cisco technology, business application programming and support skills, experience providing Internet data center consulting and network management services, and extensive background helping small business recover from catastrophic network failures ensure that the solutions Progent proposes take full advantage of advanced technology to keep costs down while maximizing the chances of success.

Key areas defined in the Solution Design phase include:

  • The crisis management command structure
  • The location of a secondary work site (where necessary)
  • Telecommunication architecture between primary and secondary work sites
  • Data replication methodology between primary and secondary work sites
  • The application, hardware, and software required at the secondary work site
  • The type of physical data requirements at the secondary work site.
Phase 4: Implementation
The Implementation phase is the most important part of a disaster recovery plan and features the execution of the design elements identified in the Solution Design phase. Work package testing may take place during the implementation of the solution. Progent's skills as system integrators come into play in this phase and help minimize the time and cost required to roll out a viable solution.

Phase 5: Testing and Verification of Technical Solutions
Testing and adjusting recovery plans for specific anticipated scenarios is another critical element of a viable disaster recovery program. The complexity of fault-tolerant networks requires rigorous testing to verify that a recovery plan is feasible and that assigned responsibilities are understood. Recovery exercises will show whether backed-up data can be usefully restored, alternative connectivity technology provides adequate performance under realistic loads, fault-tolerant technologies perform failover processes as planned, and IT staff knows what is expected. Testing exercises will help you identify weak points in your recovery plan so you can make adjustments before disaster strikes. Progent's experience with system design and support ensure that the Testing and Verification phase of a disaster recover plan is thorough and meaningful without being unnecessarily protracted and costly.

Primary areas involved in the Testing and Verification phase of a business continuity plan include:

  • Application security
  • Hardware operability check
  • Application operability/availability check
  • Data verification
Key questions that are addressed during the Testing and Verification phase of a disaster recovery plan include:
  • Are all work processes for critical functions documented?
  • Have the systems used in the execution of critical functions changed?
  • Are the documented work checklists meaningful and accurate for staff?
  • Do the documented work process recovery tasks and supporting disaster recovery infrastructure allow staff to recover within the predetermined recovery time objective?
Phase 6: Treatment of Test Failures
In this phase you resolve any issues or concerns that arose during the Testing and Verification phase. Any changes in the solution design that come about during this phase should be reflected in the associated disaster recovery documents. Progent's experience with disaster recovery solution design and implementation help keep test failures at a minimum and speed up remediation, saving clients time and money.

Phase 7: Handover
The handover of a turnkey disaster recovery solution includes three activities:

  • The first activity in the Handover phase is to confirm the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in the written manual and the distribution of the documentation to the client's staff. Staff members whose roles are identified as critical for disaster response and recovery are provided training to ensure that they understand what they are expected to do and know how to do it.
  • The second activity is testing and verification of technical solutions established for recovery operations.
  • The third activity is an all-hands testing and verification of documented organization recovery procedures.
Additional Zero-Downtime Solutions Supported by Progent
Progent's certified consulting experts can help your business to create a sensible, high-availability environment that addresses key issues covering a broad array of infrastructure technologies and processes including:

Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and medium-sized organizations an affordable and fully managed solution for secure backup/disaster recovery (BDR). Available at a fixed monthly cost, ProSight DPS automates and monitors your backup processes and allows rapid restoration of vital files, applications and VMs that have become lost or corrupted as a result of hardware failures, software glitches, natural disasters, human mistakes, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you back up, recover and restore files, folders, apps, system images, as well as Hyper-V and VMware images. Important data can be backed up on the cloud, to a local device, or mirrored to both. Progent's backup and recovery consultants can provide advanced support to configure ProSight DPS to to comply with regulatory requirements like HIPPA, FIRPA, and PCI and, when needed, can help you to restore your critical information. Learn more about ProSight Data Protection Services Managed Cloud Backup and Recovery.

Microsoft Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery experts can assist your organization to design a DR solution based on Microsoft's latest Failover Clustering tools including Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade for non-intrusive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for crash-consistent Recovery Point Objective (RPO), Storage Spaces Direct for enterprise-class storage clusters using low-cost hardware, Virtual Machine Load Balancing for improving the performance and fault-tolerance of Failover Clusters while reducing TCO and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for fast, affordable creation of a failover cluster quorum witness. To learn more, visit Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery Support.

Windows Server 2012 Failover Clustering
Windows Server 2008 R2 brought enterprise-class availability and system recovery to Microsoft's failover clustering platform. Windows Server 2012 R2 builds on this technology and provides significant enhancements offering more extensibility, non-stop disk storage availability for server applications, simpler management, faster failover, and additional options for architecting clusters. To find out more, visit Windows Server 2012 Clustering Consulting Services.

VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is an extension to VMware vCenter that lets you specify, automate and test a repeatable runbook for recovering applications and services rapidly following an outage. SRM supports centrally controlled and automated recovery, application mobility, plus transparent site relocation, failback and site re-protect. SRM also enables non-intrusive testing for site recovery, upgrades and fixes and can generate audit reports to confirm complete service restoration, validate SLAs and demonstrate disaster recovery compliance. Progent can provide the support of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consultant to help you to plan, deploy, test and manage a DR system powered by VMware SRM.

NetApp MetroCluster High Availability and Disaster Recovery Software
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery software suite that uses failover storage clustering along with continual replication to deliver rapid, zero data loss disaster recovery between sites located up to 185 miles (300km) apart from each other. Progent offers the skills of a certified NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can assist you to plan, configure, administer, upgrade, test and troubleshoot a disaster recovery system built around NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to select a topology for your MetroCluster deployment that meets your functional requirements and budget. Progent can make sure you adhere to leading practices for installing your MetroCluster environment by providing help with procedures such as assigning disk pools and shelf IDs, arranging aggregate and plexes layout, setting up volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, installing Cisco and Brocade switches, designing a tiebreaker mechanism, designing a configuration replication network between your storage clusters, and verifying your DR solution to prove adherence with information assurance standards and regulatory mandates.

Fault Tolerant Load Balancing
Progent provides high availability load balancing consulting covering network load balancing, load balanced programs, network infrastructure routing, and content dispatching products such as Cisco Content Engine. Non-stop load balancing products for which Progent can provide consulting services include Microsoft Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Metaframe and Access Gateway, Cisco CSS, Cisco Content Engine and ACNS, and F5 Networks 3-DNS. For details, visit High Availability Load Balancing.

Fault Tolerant Colocation
Progent's Data Center professionals can help you find high availability data centers that match the particular requirements of your business. Fault tolerant Internet Data Centers are particularly appealing to small and mid-size businesses because of their low cost and convenience in comparison to taking a do-it-yourself strategy. Trying to design an in-house data center that offers even a basic degree of fault tolerance is financially prohibitive for typical small businesses. Progent is ready to help you get all the benefits of non-stop data centers by providing a full array of engineering and maintenance services. To read more, see Non-stop Internet Data Centers Consulting.

24x7 Branch Office Connectivity
Progentís inter-site network infrastructure consultants can help companies achieve non-stop multi-site connections via fully redundant networks with automatic failover. Progentís Cisco-qualified CCIE network engineers can plan and deploy ultra-reliable Inter-office connections supported by zero-downtime EIGRP network routers or non-stop OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can show you how multi-path connections and automatic fail-over can provide affordable 24x7 interoffice networking. To learn more, go to 24x7 Inter-office Networking.

Fault Tolerant Internet Access
Progent's Cisco-certified network experts can help you create an economical, high availability Internet connection solution that can achieve non-stop Internet access through a wide array of high availability Internet access solutions including fault tolerant BGP, transparent fail-over, and redundant ISPs. Progent offers CCIE engineers to show you how to utilize the most advanced technology for 24x7 Internet connectivity to implement a cost-effective, completely redundant Internet interface with automatic failover and other features to deliver zero-downtime Internet connections. For details, see High Availability Internet Connectivity Architecture.

Backup and Recovery Technology Consulting Services
Progent can provide affordable online access to consultants with expertise in a broad range of utilities and services that provide solutions for backing up Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux/UNIX physical and virtual servers and desktops plus notebooks and smartphones. Progent can provide consulting support for leading data protection platforms including Acronis, Backup Exec, BackupAssist, CrashPlan, Double-Take, Mozy, Retrospect, Time Machine, VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP), and Solaris FLARs. Progent's consultants can help you to install, enhance, or maintain data backup solutions for a range of topologies such as on-premises, remote, cloud, or a mix. For details, go to Backup and Recovery Technology Consulting and Support Services.

System Center Data Protection Manager Data Recovery Consulting Experts
Progent's expert Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager support professionals can assist your company to develop an effective workplace recovery plan, design a cost-effective fault-tolerante network infrastructure, install a SCDPM-based backup and restore system, thoroughly validate your system, educate your administrative staff or local service providers how to manage Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager, or provide complete information technology outsourcing including off-site hosting of System Center Data Protection Manager machines in Progent's secure data center. To read more, visit System Center Data Protection Manager Expertise.

Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup/Restore
Double-Take publishes a selection of tools designed to provide small companies a variety of affordable alternatives for replicating and recovering vital workloads such as Exchange, SQL Server, Blackberry, and SharePoint. Progentís disaster recovery planning consultants have extensive backgrounds integrating Double-Take Software technology into small company IT systems to achieve a high state of fault tolerance and disaster recovery capability at an affordable cost. For more information, go to Consulting for Double-Take Software for Backup.

CRISC-certified Network Risk Management
The Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) program was established by ISACA in 2010 to validate a consultant's ability to plan, implement, and support IS controls to mitigate network risk. Progent offers the services of a CRISC-certified engineer to help your company to create and execute a business continuity or disaster recovery plan that follows leading practices promoted by CRISC and geared to match your company's risk appetite, business objectives, and budgetary guidelines. To read more, visit CRISC-certified IT risk management experts.

Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Because Progent is a Microsoft Gold Partner and provides specialized application expertise for a broad variety of business applications, Progent is able to assist customers to arrive at efficient information technology solutions that substantially enhance the productivity of your network. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent can provide the services of qualified consultants and specialists with expertise in designing, implementing and managing networking solutions built on Cisco products. The broad scope of Progent's technical experience and Progent's sensitivity to the requirements of small and midsize companies make Progent the ideal partner for creating and maintaining an affordable, high-availability information system.

How You Can Contact Progent's Consultants for Business Continuity Solutions Help
In order to contact Progent about consulting assistance for disaster recovery solutions, call 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.
















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