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.
Other Fault Tolerant Solutions Offered by Progent
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified consultants can assist your business to build a cost-effective, non-stop IT architecture that addresses critical challenges covering a wide range of infrastructure technologies and processes such as:

Fully Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services offer small and medium-sized organizations an affordable end-to-end solution for reliable backup/disaster recovery. For a fixed monthly cost, ProSight DPS automates and monitors your backup activities and enables fast recovery of critical data, apps and VMs that have become unavailable or corrupted as a result of component failures, software glitches, disasters, human mistakes, or malicious attacks like ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you back up, recover and restore files, folders, apps, system images, plus Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Critical data can be protected on the cloud, to a local device, or mirrored to both. Progent's cloud backup specialists can provide world-class expertise to set up ProSight Data Protection Services to be compliant with regulatory requirements such as HIPPA, FIRPA, and PCI and, when needed, can assist you to recover your critical information. Find out more about ProSight Data Protection Services Managed Backup and Recovery.

Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery experts can assist you to design a DR system based on Microsoft's cloud-tested Failover Clustering technologies such as Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade for non-intrusive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for zero-data-loss Recovery Point Objective (RPO), Storage Spaces Direct for enterprise-class storage clusters using industry-standard equipment, Virtual Machine Load Balancing for improving the performance and resilience of Failover Clusters while reducing capital investment and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for easy, economical creation of a stretch cluster quorum witness. For details, see Microsoft Server 2016 Disaster Recovery Help.

Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Failover Clusters
Windows Server 2008 R2 brought world-class fault tolerance and system recovery to Microsoft's clustering platform. Windows Server 2012 R2 builds on this technology and provides important enhancements that offer more scalability, better disk storage availability for server applications, easier administration, quicker failover, and more flexibility for designing clusters. For details, go to Windows Server 2012 Clustering Migration and Support.

VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is a component of VMware vCenter that allows you to specify, automate and test a repeatable workflow for recovering applications and services quickly after a breakdown. SRM supports centrally managed and automated recovery, application mobility, and transparent site relocation, failback and site re-protect. SRM also enables non-disruptive testing for site recovery, updates and fixes and can generate reports to confirm full service recovery, validate SLAs and prove DR compliance. Progent can provide the support of a VCDX certified VMware SRM consulting expert to assist you to plan, configure, test and administer a disaster recovery solution based on VMware SRM.

NetApp MetroCluster High Availability and Disaster Recovery Software
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery platform that combines failover storage clustering along with continual replication to deliver fast, zero RPO disaster recovery between datacenters that are as far as 300km away from one another. Progent offers the skills of a NetApp MetroCluster expert who can assist you to design, deploy, manage, upgrade, test and repair a disaster recovery solution built around NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can assist you to select a topology for your MetroCluster deployment that aligns with your functional needs and budget. Progent can ensure you adhere to leading practices for configuring your MetroCluster solution by delivering guidance with procedures like assigning shelf IDs, arranging aggregate and plexes layout, provisioning volumes, setting up NetApp Snapshot, provisioning switches, designing a tiebreaker mechanism, designing a TCP/IP configuration replication network between your storage clusters, and verifying your MetroCluster disaster recovery solution to verify adherence with industry standards and government requirements.

Network Load Balancing
Progent provides high availability load balancing support covering system load balancing, load balanced applications, network infrastructure routing, and content dispatching products such as F5 Networks 3DNS. Non-stop load balancing solutions for which Progent can provide consulting services include Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Metaframe and Presentation Server, Cisco CSS, Cisco Content Distribution Manager and ACNS, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. To find out more, go to Non-stop Load Balancing.

High-Availability Internet Data Centers
Progent's Data Center engineers can show you how to identify high availability data centers that match the specific needs of your company. High availability co-location sites are particularly attractive to small and mid-size businesses because of their affordability and simplified logistics in comparison to pursuing a do-it-yourself approach. Trying to design an on-site data center with even a basic level of fault tolerance is financially prohibitive for typical small organizations. Progent can help you reap all the advantages of 24x7 data centers by offering a complete range of consulting and support services. For details, go to Fault Tolerant Data Centers Solutions.

24x7 Inter-office Connectivity
Progentís inter-site connection professionals can help companies achieve fault tolerant interoffice connectivity by means of redundant networks featuring automatic failover. Progentís Cisco-qualified CCIE network engineers can plan and deploy fault-tolerant Inter-office networks supported by fault tolerant EIGRP routers or fault tolerant OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how redundant connectivity and automatic fail-over offers affordable non-stop interoffice networking. To read more, visit High-Availability Inter-office Connectivity.

Fault Tolerant Internet Connections
Progent's Cisco-certified network engineers can help you design an affordable, high availability Internet configuration architecture that can achieve 24x7 Internet connectivity via a broad array of high availability Internet network solutions including high availability BGP, automatic fail-over, and multiple Internet Service Providers. Progent can provide Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert engineers to show you how to apply the most up-to-date technology for high availability Internet connections to build an affordable, completely redundant Internet interface with automatic failover and other features to create fault tolerant Internet access. To read more, see Fault Tolerant Internet Connectivity Solutions.

Backup and Recovery Solutions Consulting Experts
Progent offers economical remote access to IT engineers with expertise in a broad range of utilities and services that provide solutions for protecting Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux physical and virtual servers and desktops plus laptops and smartphones. Progent can provide help for all major backup platforms such as Acronis, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist, CrashPlan PRO, Double-Take Backup, MozyPro, Retrospect for Macintosh, Apple Time Machine, VMware Data Recovery, and Solaris FLARs. Progent's consultants can assist you to implement, upgrade, or troubleshoot data backup solutions for a range of environments such as on-premises, edge to datacenter, cloud, or a mix. To learn more, go to Backup and Recovery Solutions Consulting and Support Services.

Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Backup and Restore Consulting Experts
Progent's certified System Center Data Protection Manager engineers can help you to create an effective disaster recovery plan, design an affordable high-availability IT infrastructure, configure a System Center Data Protection Manager-based backup and recovery system, thoroughly test your DPM system, educate your administrative personnel or regular consultants how to maintain SCDPM, or provide complete information technology outsourcing services including remote housing of virtual or physical SCDPM servers in Progent's secure data center facility. To read more, visit System Center Data Protection Manager Consulting.

Barracuda Backup Cloud and Offsite Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is a low-cost, subscription-based backup and disaster recovery platform for small and mid-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup solution can incorporate a purpose-built hardware appliance built by Barracuda or a virtual appliance with comparable features but which utilizes your own storage infrastructure. Barracuda Backup safeguards vital business data produced on-premises, at one or more remote sites, or in the cloud. For disaster protection, you can replicate data to the Barracuda Cloud, to Amazon Web Services (AWS), or to any site with a Barracuda appliance. Progent is a Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consultants offer a broad range of consulting services to help your business to plan, integrate, manage and repair a backup and disaster recovery system built on Barracuda Backup. For more information, go to Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting and management.

Altaro VM Backup Solutions for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup software offers small organizations a dependable and affordable platform for backing up and restoring Hyper-V and VMware-powered virtual machines (VMs). Altaro VM Backup can be used for on-premises, offsite, distributed, and cloud architectures and also supports low-cost cloud backup to Microsoft Azure Block Blob storage. Headline features include industry-leading Augmented Inline Deduplication to reduce backup storage needs, Continuous Data Protection (CDP) with backup spacing as short as five minutes for minimizing your exposure to data loss, military-grade encryption, granular restore capability for individual files and emails, support for Windows Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) and for vCenter for managing larger deployments, and the ability to leverage Microsoft VSS technology to back up online VMs with zero downtime. Progent is a certified Altaro partner and can provide a wide range of services to help you to plan, install, optimize and troubleshoot a backup/restore solution based on Altaro VM Backup. To find out more, visit Altaro VM Backup Consulting Services.

Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Backup and Recovery
Double-Take Software publishes a selection of tools intended to provide small and midsize companies a variety of affordable alternatives for replicating and restoring vital workloads including Microsoft Exchange, SQL, Blackberry, and SharePoint. Progentís disaster recovery planning consultants have extensive experience integrating Double-Take Software products into small business information systems to achieve a high state of availability and disaster recovery capability at a budget-friendly cost. To read more, go to Consulting for Double-Take Software for Data Backup.

CRISC-qualified IT Risk Management
The CRISC program was initiated by ISACA to verify a consultant's skills to plan, deploy, and maintain IS control mechanisms to mitigate risk. Progent can provide the services of a CRISC-certified engineer to help your company to create and execute a business continuity strategy based on industry best practices promoted by CRISC and crafted to match your company's risk tolerance, business objectives, and IT budget. To learn more, visit CRISC-qualified IT risk mitigation specialists.

Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Since Progent is a Microsoft Partner and provides high-level application consulting for a broad variety of small business software programs, Progent is able to assist customers to find efficient IT solutions that maximize the business value of your network. As a Registered Partner with Cisco, Progent can provide the support of certified engineers and specialists with experience in architecting, deploying and troubleshooting networking environments built on Cisco technology. The depth of Progent's technical know-how and Progent's sensitivity to the requirements of small businesses make Progent the ideal partner for creating and running an affordable, high-availability network.

How to Get in Touch with Progent's Experts for Business Continuity Solutions Support
If you wish to contact Progent about engineering help for business continuity solutions, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.
















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