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 Technologies Supported by Progent
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified support professionals can help your business to create a sensible, high-availability IT architecture that addresses critical issues encompassing a wide array of infrastructure solutions and operations such as:

Fully Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent offer small and medium-sized organizations a low cost and fully managed solution for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). Available at a fixed monthly rate, ProSight DPS automates your backup activities and allows rapid recovery of vital files, apps and VMs that have become lost or damaged as a result of component breakdowns, software glitches, disasters, human error, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you protect, recover and restore files, folders, applications, system images, as well as 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 provide world-class expertise to configure ProSight DPS to be compliant with regulatory requirements such as HIPPA, FINRA, and PCI and, when necessary, can assist you to restore your business-critical information. Find out more about ProSight Data Protection Services Managed Cloud 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 system 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 zero-data-loss Recovery Point Objective (RPO), Storage Spaces Direct for high-performance network-attached storage using industry-standard equipment, Virtual Machine Load Balancing for improving the speed and fault-tolerance of Failover Clusters while reducing capital investment and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for easy, affordable deployment of a failover cluster quorum witness. To learn more, visit Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Expertise.

Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Failover Clusters
Windows Server 2008 R2 introduced enterprise-class availability and system recovery to Microsoft's failover clustering solution. Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 builds on this foundation and delivers important improvements offering more extensibility, better disk storage uptime for server applications, streamlined management, quicker automatic failover, and additional options for designing failover 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 is a component of VMware vCenter that allows you to orchestrate, automate and test a consistent process for recovering services quickly after a breakdown. SRM supports centrally managed and automated recovery, application mobility, and transparent site relocation, failback and re-protect. SRM also allows transparent testing for disaster recovery, upgrades and patches and can produce audit reports to verify complete service restoration, validate Service Level Agreements and demonstrate DR compliance. Progent offers the skills of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consulting expert to help you to plan, deploy, test and administer a DR solution powered by VMware SRM.

NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Technology
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery platform that combines array-based storage clustering along with continual replication to provide fast, zero RPO disaster recovery between sites that are as far as 185 miles apart. Progent offers access to a NetApp MetroCluster expert who can help you to design, deploy, administer, upgrade, test and troubleshoot a disaster recovery system based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can assist you to select an architecture for your MetroCluster deployment that meets your functional requirements and IT budget. Progent can make sure you follow leading practices for configuring your MetroCluster environment by providing help with procedures like assigning disk pools and shelf IDs, determining aggregate and plexes layout, provisioning FlexVol volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, provisioning Cisco and Brocade switches, designing a tiebreaker, designing a TCP/IP configuration replication network between your peered clusters, and testing your MetroCluster disaster recovery solution to show adherence with information assurance standards and regulatory requirements.

Fault Tolerant Load Balancing
Progent offers fault tolerant load balancing support covering system load balancing, load balanced programs, network infrastructure routing, and content delivery technology such as F5 Networks 3DNS. Fault tolerant load balancing solutions for which Progent can provide consulting expertise include Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and 2008 Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Access Suite and Access Gateway, Cisco Content Services Switch, Cisco Distributed Director and Cisco CDN Software, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. To read more, go to Fault Tolerant Load Balancing.

Zero Downtime Internet Data Centers
Progent's Data Center consultants can help you identify fault-tolerant data centers that match the particular requirements of your business. Fault tolerant off-site data centers are particularly appealing to small and mid-size companies due to of their affordability and simplified logistics in comparison to taking a do-it-yourself approach. Attempting to design an in-house data center that offers even a basic level of fault tolerance is too expensive for most small organizations. Progent can help you reap all the advantages of 24x7 colocation facilities by offering a complete range of consulting and support services. To find out more, go to Non-stop Internet Data Centers Consulting.

Fault Tolerant Interoffice Connectivity
Progentís branch office connection professionals can help companies achieve zero-downtime inter-site connectivity solutions through fully redundant system architectures with transparent failover. Progentís Cisco-qualified CCIE network engineers can plan and deploy ultra-reliable Inter-office connections supported by zero-downtime EIGRP network routers or fault tolerant OSPF configurations of Cisco routers. Progent can show you how redundant connections and transparent fail-over can provide economical 24x7 interoffice networking. For more information, go to Failsafe Inter-office Networking.

Fault Tolerant Internet Connections
Progent's Cisco-certified IT engineers can help you design an economical, high availability Internet connection solution that can deliver non-stop Internet connectivity via a broad range of fault tolerant Internet network technologies including high availability BGP, transparent fail-over, and multiple ISPs. Progent can provide CCIE professionals to show you how to utilize the latest technology for high availability Internet connections to create a cost-effective, completely redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other features to deliver fault tolerant Internet connections. For details, visit Non-stop Internet Connectivity Solutions.

Backup and Restore Technology Consulting Experts
Progent can provide affordable online support from engineers with expertise in a broad range of utilities and technologies that deliver solutions for backing up Windows, Mac, and Linux servers and desktops plus laptops and smartphones. Progent can provide expertise for all major data protection platforms including Acronis, Backup Exec, BackupAssist, HP Data Protector, Double-Take Backup, MozyPro, Retrospect for Macintosh, Time Machine, VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP), and Oracle Solaris FLARs. Progent's consultants can help your company to install, enhance, or maintain backup solutions for a variety of topologies such as local, edge to datacenter, cloud-based, or a mix. To read more, visit Backup and Restore Technology Consulting Services.

Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Backup and Restore Consultants
Progent's certified Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager engineers can assist you to develop a practical disaster recovery plan, implement a cost-effective fault-tolerante network infrastructure, install a Microsoft SCDPM-powered recovery system, thoroughly validate your DPM system, train your IT staff or regular service providers how to manage SCDPM, or provide complete IT outsourcing services including remote hosting of SCDPM servers in Progent's secure data center. To learn more, see System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Consulting and Support Services.

Barracuda Backup Multi-site and Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is an affordable, subscription-based backup and disaster recovery platform for small and medium-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup deployment can include a purpose-built hardware appliance manufactured by Barracuda or a virtual appliance with similar features but which utilizes your own storage hardware. Barracuda Backup safeguards vital business data produced on-premises, at one or more remote sites, or in the cloud. For disaster recovery, you can replicate data to the Barracuda Cloud, to Amazon Web Services (AWS), or to any site with a physical or virtual Barracuda Backup appliance. Progent is a certified Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consulting experts offer a broad array of consulting support services to help you to design, configure, manage and troubleshoot a BDR system built on Barracuda Backup. For additional information, visit Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consultants.

Altaro VM Backup Solutions for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup provides small and mid-size organizations a dependable and budget-friendly platform for backing up and recovering Hyper-V and VMware-based VMs. Altaro VM Backup can be used for local, remote, multi-site, and cloud architectures and also enables low-cost backup to Microsoft Azure storage. Top features include state-of-the-art inline deduplication to cut backup storage requirements, Continuous Data Protection with backup intervals as low as five minutes for reducing your exposure to data loss, advanced encryption, item-level restore options for individual files and emails, extensive support for Windows Server Cluster Shared Volumes and VMware vCenter for managing larger deployments, and the ability to leverage Microsoft VSS technology to back up online virtual machines without downtime. Progent is a certified Altaro partner and can provide a wide range of services to assist you to design, install, manage and troubleshoot a backup/restore system based on Altaro VM Backup software. For more information, go to Altaro VM Backup Consulting Services.

Consulting for Double-Take Solutions for Backup
Double-Take offers a family of products designed to deliver small and midsize businesses a variety of cost-effective alternatives for backing up and recovering business-critical workloads including Exchange, SQL, RIM Blackberry, and SharePoint. Progentís business continuity planning experts have extensive backgrounds integrating Double-Take products into small company information networks to create an advanced level of availability and business continuity capability at an affordable cost. To find out more, visit Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Backup.

CRISC-certified IT Risk Management
The Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) certification program was initiated by ISACA to validate an IT professional's skills to plan, deploy, and maintain information system controls to mitigate network risk. Progent can provide the services of a CRISC-certified consultant to assist you to create and execute a business continuity or disaster recovery plan based on industry best practices promoted by CRISC and geared to match your company's risk appetite, business objectives, and IT budget. For details, see CRISC-certified IT risk mitigation experts.

Why Pick Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?
Since Progent is a Microsoft Partner and offers professional application expertise for a broad range of business software programs, Progent is able to assist clients to find complete IT solutions that maximize the business value of your IT network. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent offers the expertise of certified consultants and specialists with expertise in designing, deploying and troubleshooting networking solutions based on Cisco technology. The broad scope of Progent's technical experience and Progent's sensitivity to the needs of small companies make Progent a great resource for creating and running a cost-effective, fault-tolerant information system.

How to Contact Progent's Consultants for Disaster Recovery Planning Support
If you wish to ask Progent about professional assistance for disaster recovery planning, phone 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.
















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