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 High Availability Technologies Supported by Progent
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified engineers can assist your business to implement an efficient, high-availability system that resolves critical challenges encompassing a wide range of infrastructure technologies and operations including:

Fault Tolerant Internet Connections
Progent's Cisco-certified IT consultants can help you create an economical, high availability Internet configuration architecture that can deliver non-stop Internet access via a broad range of high availability Internet network technologies including non-stop BGP, automatic fail-over, and multiple ISPs. Progent offers Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert consultants to help you apply the most advanced techniques for 24x7 Internet access to build a cost-effective, fully redundant Internet interface with automatic failover and other features to create non-stop Internet access. To find out more, see Non-stop Internet Connectivity Architecture.

Microsoft Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery/business continuity consultants can help your organization to design a disaster recovery system based on Microsoft's most advanced Failover Clustering technologies such as Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade for non-disruptive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for crash-consistent recovery, Storage Spaces Direct for enterprise-class network-attached storage using industry-standard hardware, VM Load Balancing for improving the speed and fault-tolerance of Failover Clusters while reducing TCO and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for easy, affordable creation of a stretch cluster quorum witness. For more information, see Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Help.

Windows Server 2012 Failover Clustering
Windows Server 2008 R2 introduced world-class availability and system recovery to Microsoft's clustering platform. Windows Server 2012 R2 builds on this technology and delivers significant enhancements offering increased scalability, non-stop storage uptime for server applications, simpler management, faster failover, and more flexibility for designing failover clusters. To find out more, see Windows Server 2012 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 allows you to define, automate and verify a repeatable runbook for recovering applications and services quickly after a breakdown. SRM supports centrally controlled and automated disaster recovery, application mobility, and transparent site relocation, failback and site re-protect. Site Recovery Manager also supports non-disruptive testing for disaster recovery, updates and fixes and can generate reports to confirm complete service restoration, validate Service Level Agreements and prove DR compliance. Progent can provide the skills of a VCDX certified VMware SRM consultant to assist you to plan, configure, test and maintain a DR solution powered by VMware SRM.

NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Software
NetApp MetroCluster is a high-availability and disaster recovery platform that combines failover storage clustering along with synchronous replication to provide rapid, zero RPO disaster recovery between datacenters located up to 185 miles (300km) apart from each other. Progent offers access to a certified NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can help you to design, configure, administer, update, test and troubleshoot a disaster recovery system based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can assist you to choose an architecture for your MetroCluster environment that aligns with your technical needs and IT budget. Progent can ensure you follow best practices for installing your MetroCluster solution by providing help with tasks like assigning disk pools, determining plexes layout, setting up volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, provisioning switches, designing a tiebreaker, setting up a TCP/IP configuration replication network between your storage clusters, and testing your DR system to verify adherence with information assurance standards and government mandates.

Network Load Balancing
Progent offers fault tolerant load balancing consulting covering network load balancing, load balanced programs, LAN/WAN infrastructure routing, and content dispatching technology including Cisco Content Engine. Non-stop load balancing technologies for which Progent can provide consulting expertise include Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Access Suite and Presentation Server, Cisco Content Services Switch, Cisco Content Engine and LocalDirector 400 series, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. To find out more, go to Non-stop Load Balancing.

Non-stop Data Centers
Progent's Data Center professionals can show you how to identify high availability data centers that match the specific needs of your business. High availability collocation sites are especially appealing to small and mid-size businesses due to of their affordability and convenience compared to taking a do-it-yourself approach. Trying to create an on-site data center that offers even a minimum level of fault tolerance is too costly for most small organizations. Progent is ready to help you reap all the benefits of 24x7 colo centers by offering a full range of consulting and support services. For more information, go to Non-stop Internet Data Centers Consulting.

High-Availability Branch Office Networking
Progentís multi-site connectivity consultants can help businesses achieve zero-downtime branch office connectivity solutions via redundant networks featuring automatic failover. Progentís Cisco-qualified CCIE network engineers can plan and deploy fault-tolerant Inter-office networks based on fault tolerant EIGRP routers or zero-downtime OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can show you how multi-path connections and transparent fail-over offers affordable 24x7 interoffice networking. For details, go to Failsafe Interoffice Connectivity.

Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Backup and Restore Consulting
Progent's expert Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager support professionals can assist you to develop an effective disaster recovery strategy, design an affordable high-availability IT architecture, install a SCDPM-based recovery solution, thoroughly test your system, train your administrative personnel or local consultants how to manage Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager, or provide complete IT outsourcing services such as off-site housing of SCDPM machines in Progent's secure data center. To find out more, go to Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Expertise.

Fully Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent offer small and mid-sized organizations a low cost and fully managed service for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). For a low monthly price, ProSight DPS automates and monitors your backup processes and allows rapid restoration of vital files, apps and virtual machines that have become lost or damaged due to component failures, software glitches, disasters, human mistakes, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you back up, recover and restore files, folders, applications, system images, as well as Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware images. Important data can be backed up on the cloud, to an on-promises storage device, or to both. Progent's cloud backup specialists can provide world-class support to configure ProSight DPS to be compliant with regulatory requirements such as IPPA, FIRPA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, whenever needed, can assist you to recover your critical data. Read more about ProSight DPS Managed Cloud Backup.

Backup and Restore Solutions Consulting Services
Progent can provide economical remote support from IT engineers skilled in a broad range of utilities and technologies that deliver solutions for protecting Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux/UNIX physical and virtual servers and desktops plus notebooks and handhelds. Progent offers help for leading data protection platforms such as Acronis Backup and Recovery, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist Software, CrashPlan, Double-Take Backup, Mozy, Retrospect for Macintosh, Apple Time Machine, VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP), and Oracle Solaris FLARs. Progent's consultants can assist you to deploy, upgrade, or troubleshoot backup solutions for a range of architectures including local, remote, cloud-based, or hybrid. For details, go to Backup and Restore Solutions Consulting Services.

Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Backup/Restore
Double-Take Software offers a family of tools intended to deliver small businesses a range of cost-effective solutions for backing up and recovering business-critical workloads including Exchange, SQL Server, RIM Blackberry, and Microsoft Office SharePoint. Progentís business continuity planning experts have extensive backgrounds incorporating Double-Take Software technology into small company IT networks to achieve a high state of fault tolerance and disaster recovery capability at a budget-friendly cost. For more information, visit Consulting for Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup.

CRISC-certified Network Risk Control
The CRISC certification program was initiated by ISACA in 2010 to verify a consultant's skills to plan, deploy, and support IS controls to mitigate network risk. Progent can provide the expertise of a CRISC-certified consultant to help you to develop and execute a workplace continuity plan that follows leading practices promoted by CRISC and geared to align with your organization's risk appetite, business goals, and budgetary guidelines. To find out more, see CRISC-qualified IT risk management specialists.

Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?
Because Progent is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and offers specialized application consulting for a broad range of small business software programs, Progent can help clients to find efficient IT solutions that substantially enhance the business value of your IT network. As a Registered Partner with Cisco, Progent offers the expertise of certified engineers and specialists with experience in architecting, installing and troubleshooting networking solutions built on Cisco technology. The breadth of Progent's technical know-how and Progent's familiarity with the needs of small and midsize businesses make Progent a great resource for building and maintaining a cost-effective, high-availability network.

How to Contact Progent's Consultants for Disaster Recovery Solutions Support
In order to contact Progent about consulting expertise for business continuity solutions, phone 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.
















© 2002- 2017 Progent Corporation. All rights reserved.

More topics of interest: