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 Zero-Downtime Solutions Supported by Progent's Consultants
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified engineers can assist you to design an affordable, fault-tolerant system that addresses major problems encompassing a broad array of infrastructure solutions and processes such as:

Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent provide small and mid-sized businesses a low cost and fully managed service for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). For a fixed monthly cost, ProSight DPS automates and monitors your backup activities and enables rapid recovery of critical data, applications and VMs that have become unavailable or damaged due to hardware failures, software glitches, natural disasters, human mistakes, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, applications, system images, plus 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 deliver advanced support to set up ProSight DPS to be compliant with regulatory standards like HIPPA, FINRA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, when needed, can help you to recover your business-critical data. Read more about ProSight DPS Managed Backup and Recovery.

Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery consultants can assist you to design a disaster recovery solution based on Microsoft's latest Failover Clustering technologies such as Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade for non-intrusive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for crash-consistent recovery, Storage Spaces Direct for enterprise-class network-attached storage using industry-standard equipment, Virtual Machine Load Balancing for enhancing the speed and resilience of Failover Clusters while reducing capital investment and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for fast, affordable deployment of a failover cluster quorum arbitration point. To learn more, see Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Help.

Microsoft Server 2012 Failover Clusters
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 introduced world-class availability and recoverability to Microsoft's failover clustering platform. Windows Server 2012 R2 builds on this foundation and provides significant enhancements that offer increased expandability, better storage uptime for server applications, easier management, faster automatic failover, and more flexibility for architecting clusters. For details, visit Windows Server 2012 Clustering Integration.

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 verify a repeatable runbook for restoring services rapidly after an outage. Site Recovery Manager supports centrally managed and automated disaster recovery, application mobility, and transparent site relocation, failback and site re-protect. SRM also enables non-disruptive testing for disaster recovery, upgrades and fixes and can generate audit reports to verify full service recovery, validate Service Level Agreements and demonstrate DR compliance. Progent can provide the skills of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consulting expert to help your organization to design, deploy, test and maintain 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 uses array-based storage clustering along with replication to deliver rapid, zero data loss disaster recovery between sites that are up to 185 miles (300km) apart from each other. Progent can provide access to a certified NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can help your business to plan, deploy, manage, upgrade, test and repair a disaster recovery solution built around NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can assist you to choose a topology for your MetroCluster environment that aligns with your functional requirements and budget. Progent can ensure you follow leading practices for installing your MetroCluster solution by delivering help with procedures like assigning disk pools, determining aggregate layout, setting up FlexVol volumes, setting up NetApp Snapshot, installing switches, designing a tiebreaker mechanism, setting up a configuration replication network between your peered clusters, and testing your MetroCluster DR solution to prove adherence with industry standards and regulatory mandates.

Network Load Balancing
Progent provides high availability load balancing consulting that addresses network load balancing, load balanced applications, network backbone routing, and content delivery technology including Cisco Content Engine. Fault tolerant load balancing solutions for which Progent can provide consulting services include Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Metaframe and Presentation Server, Cisco CSS, Cisco Content 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 professionals can show you how to select high availability data centers that meet the particular needs of your company. High availability co-location sites are particularly appealing to small and mid-size organizations because of their low cost and convenience in comparison to pursuing a do-it-yourself approach. Attempting to design an on-site data center with even a minimum degree of fault tolerance is financially prohibitive for most small companies. Progent is ready to help you get all the advantages of 24x7 Internet data centers by providing a complete array of consulting and maintenance services. To learn more, visit Non-stop Data Centers Expertise.

Fault Tolerant Inter-office Networking
Progentís interoffice connection professionals can help organizations achieve non-stop interoffice connections through fully redundant system architectures with automatic failover. Progentís Cisco-certified CCIE network engineers can design and deploy ultra-reliable Inter-office connections based on zero-downtime EIGRP routers or non-stop OSPF configurations of Cisco routers. Progent can show you how redundant connections and transparent fail-over can provide affordable non-stop interoffice networking. For more information, see Fault Tolerant Inter-office Connectivity.

Non-stop Internet Access
Progent's Cisco-certified network experts can show you how to create an economical, fault tolerant Internet connection solution that can achieve 24x7 Internet access via a broad array of fault tolerant Internet access solutions including high availability BGP, transparent fail-over, and multiple Internet Service Providers. Progent offers CCIE engineers to show you how to apply the most up-to-date techniques for 24x7 Internet connectivity to build an affordable, fully redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other capabilities to deliver non-stop Internet availability. To learn more, see 24x7 Internet Access Solutions.

Backup and Restore Solutions Consulting Experts
Progent offers economical remote support from IT engineers skilled in a broad range of products and technologies that deliver solutions for backing up Microsoft Windows, Mac, and Linux/UNIX physical and virtual servers and workstations as well as notebooks and smartphones. Progent offers help for all major data protection products such as Acronis Backup and Recovery, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist, HP Data Protector, Double-Take Software, MozyPro, Retrospect, Apple Time Machine, VMware Data Recovery (VDR), and FLARs. Progent's consultants can help your company to implement, enhance, or troubleshoot backup/restore systems for a range of topologies including on-premises, remote, cloud, or a mix. For details, go to Backup and Restore Technology Expertise.

System Center Data Protection Manager Backup and Recovery Consulting and Support Services
Progent's certified Microsoft SCDPM engineers can assist you to create an effective disaster recovery plan, implement an affordable high-availability IT architecture, configure a Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager-based backup and recovery system, thoroughly validate your system, educate your IT staff or local consultants how to manage System Center Data Protection Manager, or provide complete IT outsourcing such as remote housing of virtual or physical SCDPM machines in Progent's data center. To read more, visit Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Consulting.

Barracuda Backup On-premises and Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is a low-cost, subscription backup/restore service for small and medium-size businesses. A Barracuda Backup deployment can include a purpose-built hardware storage device built by Barracuda or a virtual appliance with similar features but which uses your existing storage hardware. Barracuda Backup safeguards critical business data produced on-premises, at one or more remote locations, or in the cloud. For disaster recovery, you can replicate data to the Barracuda Cloud, to Amazon AWS, or to any site with a Barracuda appliance. Progent is a Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consulting experts can provide a broad range of consulting services to help your business to plan, integrate, operate and troubleshoot a BDR solution based on Barracuda technology. For additional information, go to Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting.

Altaro VM Backup Solutions for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup provides small businesses a reliable 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 architectures and also enables low-cost cloud backup to Microsoft Azure storage. Top features include industry-leading inline deduplication to cut backup storage needs, Continuous Data Protection (CDP) with backup intervals as little as five minutes for minimizing 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 vCenter for managing larger environments, and the ability to leverage Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service to back up online VMs with zero downtime. Progent is an Altaro partner and offers a wide array of consulting services to help you to design, install, optimize and troubleshoot a backup and disaster recovery system based on Altaro VM Backup. For details, go to Altaro VM Backup Consulting Services.

Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup
Double-Take publishes a selection of tools designed to provide small companies a range of cost-effective solutions for backing up and recovering business-critical workloads such as Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, RIM Blackberry, and SharePoint. Progentís business continuity planning experts have extensive backgrounds incorporating Double-Take Software products into small company information systems to create a high state of availability and business continuity capability at an affordable price. For more information, visit Consulting for Double-Take Software for Data Backup.

CRISC-certified Network Risk Mitigation
The Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) program was established by ISACA to validate an IT professional's skills to plan, implement, and support IS controls to mitigate risk. Progent can provide the services of a CRISC-certified consultant to assist your company to create and execute a business continuity or disaster recovery plan that follows leading practices identified by CRISC and geared to match your company's risk tolerance, business goals, and budgetary guidelines. To find out more, visit CRISC-qualified IT risk control specialists.

Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Since Progent is a Microsoft Gold Partner and offers high-level application expertise for a broad range of business applications, Progent is able to assist clients to find complete IT solutions that maximize the productivity of your information system. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent offers the expertise of qualified consultants and specialists with expertise in designing, deploying and troubleshooting networking solutions built on Cisco products. The extent of Progent's technical experience and Progent's familiarity with the needs of small companies make Progent the perfect partner for building and running a cost-effective, dependable information system.

How You Can Get in Touch with Progent's Engineers for Disaster Recovery Planning Support
If you wish to get in touch with Progent about engineering help for business continuity solutions, phone 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.
















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