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 Fault Tolerant Solutions Provided by Progent
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified support professionals can help you to implement an efficient, fault-tolerant environment that addresses key problems encompassing a wide array of networking solutions and operations such as:

Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and mid-sized organizations an affordable and fully managed solution for secure backup/disaster recovery. For a fixed monthly price, ProSight Data Protection Services automates your backup processes and allows fast recovery of critical files, applications and virtual machines that have become lost or corrupted due to hardware failures, software bugs, disasters, human mistakes, or malware attacks like ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you back up, recover and restore files, folders, applications, system images, plus Hyper-V and VMware images. Critical data can be protected on the cloud, to an on-promises storage device, or to both. Progent's backup and recovery specialists can provide world-class support to configure ProSight DPS to be compliant with government and industry regulatory standards such as HIPPA, FIRPA, and PCI and, when necessary, can help you to restore your critical data. Read more about ProSight Data Protection Services Managed Backup.

Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery consultants can assist you to plan and deploy a disaster recovery solution based on Microsoft's most advanced Failover Clustering tools such as Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade for non-disruptive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for crash-consistent recovery, Storage Spaces Direct for high-performance storage clusters using low-cost equipment, Virtual Machine Load Balancing for improving the speed and fault-tolerance of Failover Clusters while reducing TCO and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for fast, affordable deployment of a stretch cluster quorum arbitration point. For details, visit Microsoft Server 2016 Disaster Recovery Consulting.

Microsoft Server 2012 Failover Clustering
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 introduced world-class fault tolerance and recoverability to Microsoft's failover clustering platform. Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 builds on this foundation and delivers important improvements offering more expandability, non-stop disk storage availability for server applications, simpler administration, quicker failover, and more flexibility for designing failover clusters. To find out more, see Windows Server 2012 R2 Failover Clustering Migration and Support.

VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is an extension to VMware vCenter that lets you orchestrate, automate and test a repeatable runbook for restoring applications and services rapidly after a breakdown. Site Recovery Manager provides centrally managed and automated disaster recovery, application mobility, plus transparent site relocation, failback and re-protect. Site Recovery Manager also allows non-disruptive testing for site recovery, upgrades and fixes and can generate audit reports to confirm complete service recovery, validate SLAs and demonstrate DR compliance. Progent offers the skills of a VCDX certified VMware SRM consultant to help your organization to plan, configure, test and administer a disaster recovery system based on VMware SRM.

NetApp MetroCluster High Availability and Disaster Recovery Platform
NetApp MetroCluster is a high-availability and disaster recovery software suite that combines array-based storage clustering along with continual replication to deliver rapid, zero data loss disaster recovery between datacenters located up to 185 miles (300km) apart. Progent offers the skills of a NetApp MetroCluster expert who can help you to plan, deploy, administer, upgrade, test and repair a disaster recovery system based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to select a topology for your MetroCluster environment that aligns with your functional requirements and IT budget. Progent can ensure you follow best practices for configuring your MetroCluster solution by delivering guidance with tasks such as assigning disk pools and shelf IDs, arranging aggregate layout, provisioning FlexVol volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, installing switches, implementing a tiebreaker, designing a configuration replication network, and verifying your DR system to prove adherence with information assurance standards and government mandates.

Network Load Balancing
Progent offers high availability load balancing consulting covering system load balancing, load balanced applications, network backbone routing, and content dispatching technology such as Cisco Content Engine. Fault tolerant load balancing solutions for which Progent offers consulting services include Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Access Suite and Presentation Server, Cisco Content Services Switch, Cisco Content Distribution Manager and ACNS, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. To learn more, visit Non-stop Load Balancing.

Non-stop Data Centers
Progent's Data Center engineers can show you how to select zero-downtime data centers that match the specific requirements of your company. Fault tolerant colocation sites are particularly appealing to small and mid-size companies because of their affordability and convenience in comparison to pursuing a do-it-yourself approach. Attempting to build an on-site data center with even a minimum level of fault tolerance is financially prohibitive for most small organizations. Progent can help you reap all the advantages of 24x7 colo centers by offering a full array of consulting and support services. To read more, see Fault Tolerant Colocation Solutions.

High-Availability Interoffice Connectivity
Progentís branch office connection professionals can help organizations create zero-downtime interoffice connectivity solutions via redundant networks featuring automatic failover. Progentís Cisco-certified CCIE engineers can plan and implement high-availability Inter-office networks supported by non-stop EIGRP network routers or fault tolerant OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can show you how multi-path connections and transparent fail-over offers economical non-stop interoffice networking. For more information, go to High-Availability Interoffice Networking.

Non-stop Internet Connectivity
Progent's Cisco-certified IT engineers can show you how to build an affordable, fault tolerant Internet connection solution that can deliver non-stop Internet connectivity via a broad array of high availability Internet network technologies including high availability BGP, automatic fail-over, and multiple Internet Service Providers. Progent can provide CCIE professionals to show you how to apply the most advanced technology for high availability Internet connectivity to build a cost-effective, completely redundant Internet interface with automatic failover and other capabilities to deliver non-stop Internet connections. For more information, see Non-stop Internet Access Solutions.

Backup and Restore Solutions Consulting and Support Services
Progent offers affordable remote access to engineers skilled in a broad array of utilities and technologies that provide solutions for protecting Microsoft Windows, Mac, and Linux/UNIX physical and virtual servers and workstations plus notebooks and smartphones. Progent offers help for all major data protection platforms such as Acronis, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist Software, CrashPlan, Double-Take Backup, Mozy, Retrospect for Macintosh, Apple Time Machine, VMware Data Recovery (VDR), and Solaris FLARs. Progent's consultants can help you to deploy, upgrade, or troubleshoot backup systems for a range of architectures such as local, remote, cloud, or hybrid. To learn more, visit Backup and Restore Technology Consulting Services.

Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Data Recovery Consulting Experts
Progent's certified System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) support professionals can help you to develop a practical workplace recovery plan, design an affordable high-availability IT infrastructure, deploy a SCDPM-powered backup and restore system, thoroughly test your DPM system, educate your administrative personnel or regular consultants how to manage Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager, or provide extensive IT support outsourcing including remote hosting of virtual or physical SCDPM servers in Progent's data center. To read more, visit Microsoft SCDPM Consulting Services.

Barracuda Backup Cloud and Offsite Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is an affordable, subscription-based backup and disaster recovery platform for small and mid-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup solution can incorporate a purpose-built hardware appliance manufactured by Barracuda or a software-based appliance with similar features but which utilizes your existing storage infrastructure. Barracuda Backup protects critical company data produced locally, at one or multiple remote locations, or in the cloud. For disaster preparedness, you can replicate data to the Barracuda Cloud, to Amazon AWS, or to any location with a Barracuda appliance. Progent is a certified Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consultants offer a broad array of consulting support services to help your business to plan, integrate, manage and repair a BDR solution built on Barracuda Backup. For details, see Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting and management.

Altaro VM Backup Software for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup provides small and mid-size businesses a dependable and budget-friendly platform for backing up and recovering Hyper-V and VMware-powered virtual machines. Altaro VM Backup can be used for local, remote, multi-site, and cloud environments and also enables cost-effective backup to Azure Block Blob storage. Headline features include industry-leading inline deduplication to cut backup storage needs, Continuous Data Protection with backup intervals as little as five minutes for reducing your Recovery Point Objective (RPO), military-grade encryption, granular recovery capability for individual files and emails, support for Windows Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) and for VMware vCenter for handling large-scale environments, and support for Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to back up live VMs with zero downtime. Progent is a certified Altaro partner and offers a broad array of consulting services to assist you to design, install, manage and troubleshoot a backup/restore solution powered by Altaro VM Backup. To read more, see Altaro VM Backup Certified Consultants.

Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Data Backup
Double-Take publishes a selection of tools intended to deliver small and midsize companies a variety of affordable solutions for replicating and recovering business-critical workloads including Exchange, Microsoft SQL, RIM Blackberry, and SharePoint. Progentís business continuity planning experts have extensive experience incorporating Double-Take Software products into small company information systems to achieve an advanced state of availability and disaster recovery capability at a budget-friendly cost. To learn more, visit Consulting for Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup.

CRISC-certified IT Risk Mitigation
The Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) program was initiated by ISACA in 2010 to verify an IT professional's skills to plan, implement, and maintain IS control mechanisms to reduce risk. Progent can provide the expertise of a CRISC-certified consultant to assist you to develop and execute a workplace continuity or disaster recovery plan based on leading practices promoted by CRISC and geared to align with your organization's risk tolerance, business goals, and budgetary guidelines. For details, go to CRISC-certified network risk control experts.

Why Pick Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?
Because Progent is a Microsoft Certified Partner and provides specialized application expertise for a broad range of small business applications, Progent is able to assist clients to arrive at comprehensive IT solutions that maximize the productivity of your network. As a Registered Partner with Cisco, Progent offers the support of certified engineers and specialists with expertise in architecting, configuring and troubleshooting infrastructure solutions based on Cisco technology. The breadth of Progent's technical experience and Progent's sensitivity to the needs of small and midsize companies make Progent the ideal resource for building and maintaining an affordable, dependable information system.

How to Get in Touch with Progent's Engineers for Business Continuity Solutions Help
To ask Progent about technical assistance for business continuity solutions, phone 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.
















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