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 Microsoft and Cisco-certified consultants can help your company to implement a sensible, zero-downtime information network that resolves critical challenges covering a wide array of networking solutions and processes such as:

Fully Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and mid-sized businesses a low cost and fully managed service for secure backup/disaster recovery (BDR). For a low monthly cost, ProSight Data Protection Services automates your backup activities and enables rapid recovery of vital data, apps and virtual machines that have become unavailable or corrupted due to hardware breakdowns, software glitches, disasters, human mistakes, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, apps, system images, plus Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Important data can be protected on the cloud, to a local device, or mirrored to both. Progent's backup and recovery specialists can deliver world-class support to configure ProSight DPS to be compliant with government and industry regulatory standards such as HIPPA, FIRPA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, when needed, can help you to recover your critical information. Learn more about ProSight Data Protection Services Managed Cloud Backup and Recovery.

Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery experts can assist your organization to design a disaster recovery solution built around Microsoft's latest Failover Clustering technologies including Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade for non-intrusive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for zero-data-loss recovery, Storage Spaces Direct for high-performance network-attached storage using low-cost hardware, VM Load Balancing for improving the speed and resilience of Failover Clusters while minimizing capital investment and management overhead, and Cloud Witness for easy, economical deployment of a failover cluster quorum arbitration point. To learn more, visit Microsoft Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Help.

Microsoft Server 2012 Failover Clusters
Windows Server 2008 R2 introduced world-class fault tolerance and system recovery to Microsoft's clustering solution. Windows Server 2012 R2 adds to this technology and provides significant enhancements that offer more extensibility, better disk storage uptime for server applications, simpler administration, faster automatic failover, and more options for designing failover clusters. For details, go to Windows Server 2012 R2 Failover Clustering Consulting Services.

VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager is a component of VMware vCenter that lets you specify, automate and test a repeatable process for recovering services quickly following a breakdown. SRM supports centrally controlled and automated recovery, application mobility, plus non-intrusive site relocation, failback and re-protect. SRM also allows non-intrusive testing for site recovery, upgrades and fixes and can generate reports to confirm full service recovery, validate Service Level Agreements and demonstrate compliance. Progent offers the skills of a VCDX certified VMware SRM consultant to assist you to plan, configure, test and maintain a DR system based on VMware Site Recovery Manager.

NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Technology
NetApp MetroCluster is a high-availability and disaster recovery platform that uses failover storage clustering along with continual replication to provide fast, zero data loss disaster recovery (DR) between sites that are as far as 185 miles (300km) apart from each other. Progent can provide the skills of a certified NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can assist your business to plan, configure, administer, update, test and troubleshoot a disaster recovery solution based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to select a topology for your MetroCluster deployment that aligns with your functional needs and budget. Progent can make sure you follow leading practices for configuring your MetroCluster solution by providing help with procedures such as assigning disk pools, determining aggregate layout, setting up NetApp FlexVol volumes, setting up NetApp Snapshot, installing Cisco and Brocade switches, implementing a tiebreaker, designing a TCP/IP configuration replication network between your storage clusters, and verifying your MetroCluster disaster recovery solution to prove adherence with industry standards and regulatory mandates.

Network Load Balancing
Progent offers fault tolerant load balancing support covering network load balancing, load balanced applications, network backbone routing, and content dispatching products such as F5 Networks 3DNS. High availability load balancing technologies for which Progent offers consulting services include Windows Server 2003 and 2008 Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Access Suite and Presentation Server, Cisco CSS, Cisco Content Engine and LocalDirector 400 series, and F5 Networks 3-DNS. For details, go to High Availability Load Balancing.

Zero Downtime Internet Data Centers
Progent's Data Center engineers can help you find high availability data centers that match the specific requirements of your business. Fault tolerant off-site data centers are especially attractive to small and mid-size companies because of their affordability and simplified logistics compared to pursuing a do-it-yourself approach. Trying to build an in-house data center with even a minimum level of fault tolerance is financially prohibitive for typical small organizations. Progent can show you how to reap all the benefits of 24x7 colo centers by providing a complete range of consulting and support services. To read more, go to Fault Tolerant Internet Data Centers Consulting.

Failsafe Interoffice Networking
Progentís branch office connectivity engineers can help businesses create fault tolerant interoffice connectivity solutions through fully redundant system architectures with automatic failover. Progentís Cisco-certified CCIE engineers can plan and implement fault-tolerant Inter-office networks supported by non-stop EIGRP network routers or non-stop OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how redundant connections and automatic fail-over offers affordable non-stop interoffice networking. To learn more, visit Failsafe Interoffice Connectivity.

Fault Tolerant Internet Access
Progent's Cisco-authorized IT engineers can help you build an economical, fault tolerant Internet connection solution that can deliver non-stop Internet connectivity via a broad array of high availability Internet network solutions including high availability BGP, automatic fail-over, and multiple ISPs. Progent can provide Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert engineers to help you utilize the latest technology for high availability Internet access to build an affordable, fully redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other features to deliver non-stop Internet access. For details, visit 24x7 Internet Connectivity Architecture.

Backup and Recovery Solutions Consulting and Support Services
Progent can provide economical remote support from engineers with expertise in a wide range of products and services that deliver solutions for backing up Microsoft Windows, Mac, and Linux physical and virtual servers and workstations plus laptops and smartphones. Progent can provide help for leading data protection platforms including Acronis, Backup Exec, BackupAssist, CrashPlan, Double-Take, MozyPro, Retrospect, Apple Time Machine, vSphere Data Protection, and Solaris FLARs. Progent's consultants can assist your company to design, enhance, or troubleshoot backup solutions for a range of topologies including local, remote, cloud, or a mix. To read more, visit Backup and Recovery Technology Consulting Services.

Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Data Recovery Consulting Services
Progent's expert Microsoft SCDPM support professionals can help your company to develop a practical disaster recovery plan, design a cost-effective high-availability IT infrastructure, install a Microsoft SCDPM-based backup and recovery solution, thoroughly validate your DPM system, educate your administrative staff or local service providers how to maintain Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager, or provide complete IT support outsourcing such as remote housing of SCDPM servers in Progent's world-class data center. For details, go to System Center Data Protection Manager Expertise.

Barracuda Backup Cloud and Offsite Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is an affordable, subscription-based backup/restore service for small and mid-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup deployment can include a purpose-built hardware storage device built by Barracuda or a software-based appliance with similar features but which utilizes your existing storage hardware. Barracuda Backup safeguards critical company data produced locally, 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 physical or virtual Barracuda appliance. Progent is a certified Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consultants can provide a broad array of consulting support services to help your business to design, configure, manage and repair a backup and disaster recovery system based on Barracuda technology. For more information, visit Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consultants.

Altaro VM Backup Software for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup provides small organizations a dependable and affordable solution for backing up and restoring Hyper-V and VMware-powered virtual machines. Altaro VM Backup can be used for local, remote, distributed, and cloud environments and also enables low-cost backup to Azure storage. Top features include state-of-the-art inline deduplication to cut backup storage requirements, Continuous Data Protection with backup intervals as short as five minutes for reducing your Recovery Point Objective, advanced encryption, granular recovery options for individual files and emails, extensive support for Windows Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) and for vCenter for handling larger deployments, and the ability to leverage Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service to back up live VMs without downtime. Progent is an Altaro partner and can provide a wide array of consulting services to help you to plan, install, optimize and troubleshoot a backup/restore solution based on Altaro VM Backup. To learn more, see Altaro VM Backup Consulting Services.

Consulting for Double-Take Software for Data Backup/Restore
Double-Take offers a family of products designed to deliver small businesses a range of cost-effective alternatives for replicating and recovering business-critical applications including Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, Blackberry, and Microsoft SharePoint. Progentís business continuity planning experts have extensive experience integrating Double-Take products into small company IT systems to achieve a high state of fault tolerance and disaster recovery capability at a budget-friendly cost. For details, go to Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup.

CRISC-qualified IT Risk Management
The CRISC certification program was initiated by ISACA to validate an IT professional's ability to design, deploy, and support IS control mechanisms to reduce risk. Progent can provide the services of a CRISC-certified consultant to help you to develop and execute a workplace continuity strategy based on industry best practices promoted by CRISC and crafted to align with your company's risk appetite, business objectives, and budgetary guidelines. For more information, visit CRISC-qualified IT risk mitigation specialists.

Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?
Because Progent is a Microsoft Certified Partner and provides high-level application support for a wide variety of small business software programs, Progent is able to help customers to arrive at comprehensive information technology solutions that optimize the business value of your information system. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent offers the support of certified engineers and specialists with experience in architecting, deploying and supporting networking solutions based on Cisco technology. The depth and breadth of Progent's technical know-how and Progent's appreciation for the requirements of small and midsize businesses make Progent the ideal resource for building and maintaining a cost-effective, high-availability network.

How to Contact Progent's Experts for Business Continuity Solutions Help
If you wish to contact Progent about engineering expertise for workplace recovery solutions, phone 1-800-993-9400 or refer to Contact Progent.
















© 2002- 2018 Progent Corporation. All rights reserved.


More topics of interest: