Business Continuity Planning vs. Disaster Recovery Planning
In 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:
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.
- 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 Impact and Risk Analysis phase results in the recovery requirements for each critical function. The recovery requirements consist of:
Phase 2: Recovery Requirement Documentation
- The business requirements for recovery of the critical function
- The technical requirements for recovery of the critical function
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:
Phase 4: Implementation
- 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.
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:
Key questions that are addressed during the Testing and Verification phase of a disaster recovery plan include:
- Application security
- Hardware operability check
- Application operability/availability check
- Data verification
Phase 6: Treatment of Test Failures
- 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?
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:
Additional Fault Tolerant Technologies Offered by Progent
- 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.
Progent's certified engineers can assist your business to build a cost-effective, fault-tolerant system that addresses major problems covering a broad array of networking technologies and operations including:
Fully Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and medium-sized organizations a low cost end-to-end service for secure backup/disaster recovery (BDR). For a fixed monthly cost, ProSight Data Protection Services automates and monitors your backup processes and enables fast recovery of critical data, applications and virtual machines that have become unavailable or corrupted due to hardware breakdowns, software glitches, disasters, human mistakes, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, apps, system images, plus Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Critical data can be backed up on the cloud, to a local storage device, or mirrored to both. Progent's BDR consultants can provide world-class support to set up ProSight DPS to to comply with regulatory requirements like HIPAA, FINRA, and PCI and, whenever needed, can assist you to recover your critical data. Read more about ProSight Data Protection Services Managed Cloud Backup and Recovery.
Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery experts can assist you to design a disaster recovery solution based on Microsoft's cloud-tested Failover Clustering tools such as Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade for non-disruptive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for zero-data-loss Recovery Point Objective (RPO), Storage Spaces Direct for enterprise-class network-attached storage using low-cost equipment, VM Load Balancing for enhancing the performance and resilience of Failover Clusters while reducing capital investment and management overhead, and Cloud Witness for easy, economical deployment of a failover cluster quorum arbitration point. To read more, go to Microsoft Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Consulting.
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Failover Clusters
Windows Server 2008 R2 brought world-class fault tolerance and recoverability to Microsoft's failover clustering solution. Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 builds on this technology and provides significant improvements offering increased extensibility, non-stop storage uptime for server applications, simpler management, faster automatic failover, and additional flexibility for designing clusters. To learn more, visit Windows Server 2012 Clustering Integration.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is a component of VMware vCenter that allows you to orchestrate, automate and verify a consistent runbook for restoring applications and services rapidly after a breakdown. SRM provides centrally controlled and automated disaster recovery, application mobility, plus non-disruptive site relocation, failback and site re-protect. Site Recovery Manager also supports transparent testing for disaster recovery, upgrades and fixes and can generate reports to verify complete service restoration, validate SLAs and demonstrate DR compliance. Progent can provide the skills of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consulting expert to assist your organization to plan, deploy, test and maintain a DR system powered by VMware SRM.
NetApp MetroCluster High Availability and Disaster Recovery Platform
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery platform that combines array-based storage clustering along with continual replication to deliver rapid, zero RPO disaster recovery between sites located up to 185 miles (300km) apart from each other. Progent offers access to a certified NetApp MetroCluster expert who can help your business to plan, deploy, manage, update, test and troubleshoot a disaster recovery solution built around NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to choose an architecture for your MetroCluster deployment that aligns with your functional needs and IT budget. Progent can make sure you adhere to best practices for configuring your MetroCluster solution by providing help with tasks such as assigning disk pools and shelf IDs, arranging aggregate layout, provisioning volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, installing Cisco and Brocade switches, designing a tiebreaker, designing a configuration replication network, and verifying your MetroCluster disaster recovery system to verify adherence with industry standards and government requirements.
Fault Tolerant Load Balancing
Progent offers high availability load balancing support covering network load balancing, load balanced applications, network infrastructure routing, and content delivery technology such as Cisco Content Engine. Fault tolerant load balancing solutions for which Progent offers consulting expertise include Microsoft Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Access Suite and Presentation Server, Cisco Content Services Switch, Cisco Content Engine and Cisco CDN Software, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. To read more, visit Non-stop Load Balancing.
High-Availability Internet Data Centers
Progent's Data Center professionals can help you identify zero-downtime data centers that match the particular needs of your company. Fault tolerant collocation sites are especially appealing to small and mid-size companies due to of their affordability and simplified logistics compared to taking a do-it-yourself strategy. Trying 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 show you how to reap all the benefits of non-stop colo sites by providing a complete array of consulting and maintenance services. For details, see Fault Tolerant Internet Data Centers Expertise.
Fault Tolerant Inter-office Connectivity
Progent’s inter-site connection professionals can help businesses create fault tolerant multi-site connectivity through fully redundant system architectures featuring automatic failover. Progent’s Cisco-certified CCIE engineers can design and deploy fault-tolerant Inter-office connections supported by zero-downtime EIGRP routers or fault tolerant OSPF configurations of Cisco routers. Progent can show you how multi-path connectivity and automatic fail-over offers economical non-stop interoffice connectivity. To find out more, see 24x7 Interoffice Connectivity.
Fault Tolerant Internet Connectivity
Progent's Cisco-authorized network experts can show you how to design an economical, high availability Internet connection architecture that can achieve 24x7 Internet connectivity through a wide array of high availability Internet network solutions including non-stop BGP, automatic fail-over, and redundant ISPs. Progent offers Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert professionals to show you how to utilize the latest technology for fault tolerant Internet connectivity to implement an economical, fully redundant Internet interface with automatic failover and other capabilities to create fault tolerant Internet access. For details, go to High Availability Internet Access Solutions.
Backup and Restore Technology Consulting Services
Progent can provide affordable remote support from IT engineers skilled in a broad array of products and services that deliver solutions for protecting Microsoft Windows, Mac, and Linux physical and virtual servers and desktops as well as notebooks and handhelds. Progent can provide help for all major data protection products including Acronis Backup and Recovery, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist, HP Data Protector, Double-Take, Mozy, Retrospect for Macintosh, Time Machine, VMware Data Recovery, and FLARs. Progent can help you to implement, upgrade, or maintain backup systems for a range of topologies including on-premises, remote, cloud-based, or hybrid. To learn more, see Backup and Restore Technology Consulting and Support 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 create an effective disaster recovery strategy, implement an affordable fault-tolerante IT infrastructure, configure a SCDPM-based backup and recovery system, thoroughly validate your system, educate your administrative personnel or regular service providers how to maintain SCDPM, or provide extensive IT outsourcing including remote hosting of virtual or physical SCDPM machines in Progent's secure data center facility. To find out more, see System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Consulting.
Barracuda Backup Multi-site and Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is an affordable, subscription-based backup/restore platform for small and mid-size businesses. A Barracuda Backup solution can include a purpose-built physical storage device manufactured by Barracuda or a software-based appliance with comparable functionality but which uses your own storage hardware. Barracuda Backup safeguards critical business data produced on-premises, at one or multiple remote sites, 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 Backup appliance. Progent is a certified Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consulting experts offer a wide range of consulting support services to assist you to design, integrate, operate and repair a BDR solution built on Barracuda technology. For more information, see Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consultants.
Altaro VM Backup Software for Backup and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup offers small organizations a reliable and budget-friendly solution for backing up and recovering Hyper-V and VMware-powered virtual machines (VMs). Altaro VM Backup can be deployed in on-premises, offsite, multi-site, and cloud-hosted architectures and also supports low-cost backup to Microsoft Azure storage. Top capabilities include industry-leading inline deduplication to cut backup storage requirements, Continuous Data Protection with backup spacing as low as five minutes for reducing your Recovery Point Objective, advanced encryption, item-level restore options for specific files and emails, support for Windows Cluster Shared Volumes and for vCenter for managing larger deployments, and the ability to leverage Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service to back up online virtual machines with zero downtime. Progent is an Altaro partner and offers a wide array of services to assist you to plan, deploy, optimize and troubleshoot a backup and disaster recovery solution powered by Altaro VM Backup. For more information, visit Altaro VM Backup Certified Consultants.
Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Backup
Double-Take Software publishes a family of products designed to deliver small and midsize businesses a range of affordable alternatives for backing up and recovering business-critical workloads including Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server, RIM Blackberry, and Microsoft Office SharePoint. Progent’s business continuity planning experts have in-depth experience integrating Double-Take products into small company IT networks to create a high state of availability and business continuity capability at an affordable cost. To learn more, see Consulting for Double-Take Software for Data Backup.
CRISC-Certified IT Risk Mitigation
The CRISC program was initiated by ISACA to verify an IT professional's skills to plan, deploy, and support IS controls to mitigate risk. Progent can provide the services of a CRISC-certified consultant to assist your company to develop and execute a workplace continuity or disaster recovery plan that follows leading practices promoted by CRISC and geared to align with your organization's risk tolerance, business goals, and IT budget. For more information, see CRISC-Certified network risk control specialists.
Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Because Progent is a Microsoft Partner and offers high-level application expertise for a broad variety of small business applications, Progent can assist clients to find comprehensive information technology solutions that substantially enhance the business value of your information system. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent can provide the expertise of certified consultants and specialists with expertise in architecting, configuring and managing networking solutions built on Cisco products. The extent of Progent's IT experience and Progent's appreciation for the needs of small companies make Progent a great resource for building and running a cost-effective, high-availability information system.
How to Contact Progent's Engineers for Business Continuity Solutions Help
To ask Progent about technical support for business continuity solutions, phone 1-800-993-9400 or refer to Contact Progent.