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:
Non-stop Solutions Provided by Progent's Consultants
- 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 support professionals can assist your company to design an efficient, fault-tolerant environment that resolves major issues covering a wide range of infrastructure solutions and operations including:
CRISC-Certified IT Risk Control
The CRISC program was initiated by ISACA to validate a consultant's skills to plan, deploy, and support information system controls to mitigate risk. Progent offers the expertise of a CRISC-certified engineer to help your company to create and execute a workplace continuity or disaster recovery strategy that follows leading practices promoted by CRISC and crafted to align with your organization's risk appetite, business goals, and budgetary guidelines. For more information, see CRISC-Certified IT risk mitigation experts.
Microsoft Server 2019 High Availability Failover Clustering
Microsoft Windows Server 2019 offers significant improvements in scale, performance, manageability, security and compliance, app compatibility, Linux support, container technology, and hybrid combinations of local and cloud-hosted assets. Top new features of Microsoft Windows Server 2019 include Windows Admin Center for unifying the management and monitoring of hybrid local/cloud deployments, System Insights for taking advantage of advance predictive intelligence to manage local environments, Windows Defender ATP Exploit Guard for host-intrusion prevention, container networking using Kubernetes, Cluster Sets technology for building and administering massive high-availability scale-out clusters, and Microsoft's Storage Migration Service for simplifying the upgrade process from legacy editions of Windows Server. For details, visit Microsoft Windows Server 2019 Fault-tolerant Failover Clustering Consulting.
Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery consultants can assist you to plan and deploy a DR system built around Microsoft's most advanced Failover Clustering tools including Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade for non-intrusive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for crash-consistent Recovery Point Objective (RPO), Storage Spaces Direct for enterprise-class network-attached storage using industry-standard hardware, VM Load Balancing for improving the performance and resilience of Failover Clusters while minimizing capital investment and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for fast, economical deployment of a failover cluster quorum arbitration point. To learn more, see Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery Support.
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 test a consistent process for recovering applications and services rapidly after an outage. SRM supports centrally controlled and automated recovery, application mobility, plus non-intrusive site migration, failback and site re-protect. SRM also supports transparent testing for site recovery, upgrades and patches and can generate reports to verify complete service restoration, validate SLAs and prove DR compliance. Progent offers the skills of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consultant to assist your organization to plan, deploy, test and manage a disaster recovery solution based on VMware Site Recovery Manager.
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 with continual replication to deliver rapid, zero RPO disaster recovery (DR) between datacenters located as far as 185 miles (300km) away from one another. Progent offers the skills of a NetApp MetroCluster expert who can help your business to design, configure, manage, upgrade, test and troubleshoot a disaster recovery solution based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can assist you to choose a topology for your MetroCluster environment that aligns with your functional requirements and IT budget. Progent can ensure you adhere to leading practices for installing your MetroCluster environment by providing help with tasks like assigning shelf IDs, arranging aggregate and plexes layout, provisioning volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, installing Cisco and Brocade switches, designing a tiebreaker mechanism, designing a configuration replication network, and testing your MetroCluster DR system to show adherence with industry standards and regulatory requirements.
Network Load Balancing
Progent provides high availability load balancing support that addresses system load balancing, load balanced applications, network backbone routing, and content delivery products such as F5 Networks 3DNS. High availability load balancing technologies for which Progent offers consulting expertise include Microsoft Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Access Suite and Presentation Server, Cisco CSS, Cisco Distributed Director and ACNS, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. To find out more, see Non-stop Load Balancing.
Zero Downtime Colocation
Progent's Data Center professionals can show you how to select zero-downtime data centers that match the particular requirements of your company. Fault tolerant co-location sites are particularly attractive to small and mid-size companies due to of their low cost and simplified logistics compared to pursuing a do-it-yourself strategy. Trying to build an in-house data center with even a basic degree of fault tolerance is financially prohibitive for most small businesses. Progent is ready to help you get all the benefits of high-availability colocation facilities by providing a full range of consulting and maintenance services. For more information, see Fault Tolerant Internet Data Centers Solutions.
Non-stop Inter-office Networking
Progent’s multi-site network infrastructure engineers can help organizations achieve non-stop multi-site connectivity solutions via redundant networks featuring automatic failover. Progent’s Cisco-premier CCIE network engineers can design and deploy ultra-reliable Inter-office connections supported by non-stop EIGRP network routers or non-stop OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can show you how redundant connections and automatic fail-over can provide affordable non-stop interoffice networking. To learn more, see Failsafe Inter-office Networking.
High Availability Internet Connections
Progent's Cisco-authorized network professionals can show you how to build an affordable, high availability Internet configuration solution that can achieve 24x7 Internet connectivity via a broad range of fault tolerant Internet network solutions including non-stop BGP, transparent fail-over, and redundant ISPs. Progent offers Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert engineers to show you how to apply the most up-to-date technology for 24x7 Internet access to implement an economical, fully redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other capabilities to deliver zero-downtime Internet access. To learn more, visit 24x7 Internet Connectivity Architecture.
Backup and Recovery Technology Consulting and Support Services
Progent can provide affordable remote access to IT engineers with expertise in a wide array of products and services that provide solutions for protecting Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux/UNIX servers and workstations plus notebooks and handhelds. Progent can provide consulting support for leading backup products such as Acronis, Backup Exec, BackupAssist, CrashPlan PRO, Double-Take, MozyPro, Retrospect, Time Machine, vSphere Data Protection, and Oracle Solaris FLARs. Progent can help you to design, enhance, or maintain backup/restore systems for a range of topologies such as on-premises, edge to datacenter, cloud, or a mix. For more information, go to Backup and Restore Solutions Consulting and Support Services.
System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Backup and Restore Consultants
Progent's expert System Center Data Protection Manager consultants can assist your company to create an effective business continuity plan, design an affordable high-availability IT architecture, configure a Microsoft SCDPM-based recovery system, comprehensively test your DPM system, train your IT staff or local service providers how to maintain SCDPM, or provide extensive IT support outsourcing including off-site hosting of virtual or physical SCDPM machines in Progent's data center facility. To find out more, go to System Center Data Protection Manager Consulting.
Barracuda Backup Cloud and Offsite Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is a low-cost, subscription-based backup and disaster recovery platform for small and mid-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup solution can incorporate a purpose-built hardware storage device built by Barracuda or a virtual appliance with similar features but which uses your own storage hardware. Barracuda Backup protects vital business data generated on-premises, at one or more 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 physical or virtual Barracuda Backup appliance. Progent is a certified Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consultants can provide a broad array of consulting support services to help your business to plan, integrate, manage and troubleshoot a BDR solution based on Barracuda technology. For additional information, visit Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting.
ProSight DPS Altaro VM Backup Software for Backup and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup provides small organizations a dependable and budget-friendly platform for backing up and restoring Hyper-V and VMware-based VMs. Altaro VM Backup can be used for on-premises, remote, distributed, and cloud-hosted architectures and also enables cost-effective cloud backup to Azure Block Blob storage. Progent is a certified Altaro partner and offers a wide array of online or onsite services to help you to design, deploy, optimize and debug a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery solution powered by Altaro VM Backup software. With ProSight Data Protection Services Altaro VM Backup, Progent delivers a managed backup/restore service powered by on Altaro VM Backup technology. For details, go to Altaro VM Backup consulting services.
ProSight DPS Altaro O365 Total Backup Solutions
Microsoft Office 365 provides rudimentary archiving but does not have integrated support for key data protection services such as Exchange backups or greater than 30-day point-in-time recovery for OneDrive or SharePoint Online. Altaro O365 Total Backup provides a full-featured BDR solution for programmable backup and quick recovery of all your company's Office 365 mail, Microsoft Teams Chats, SharePoint documents, and OneDrive data. Progent is an Altaro partner and offers ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) Office 365 Total Backup to deliver end-to-end managed services for Altaro's Office 365 data protection product. ProSight Data Protection Services O365 delivers an affordable backup-as-a-service solution that defends Office 365 components against data loss caused by user or system error, malevolent deletion, and malware attacks like ransomware. For details, go to ProSight DPS Altaro O365 Backup services.
Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services ECHO
ProSight Data Protection Services ECHO provide small and mid-sized organizations a low cost and fully managed solution for secure backup/disaster recovery. For a low monthly rate, ProSight Data Protection Services ECHO automates your backup activities and enable fast recovery of vital data, apps and virtual machines that have become unavailable or corrupted as a result of component failures, software bugs, disasters, human error, or malicious attacks like ransomware. ProSight DPS ECHO can help you back up, retrieve and restore files, folders, applications, system images, as well as 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 consultants can provide world-class expertise to set up ProSight Data Protection Services ECHO to to comply with government and industry regulatory requirements like HIPAA, FINRA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, when necessary, can assist you to recover your business-critical data. Learn more about ProSight DPS ECHO managed backup and recovery.
ProSight Data Protection Services 360 Backup Solutions
Progent can assist you to create, implement and troubleshoot a backup plan built around MSP360 software. MSP360 offers file/folder or image backup/recovery for virtual machines and physical computers, supports all popular public clouds, and permits businesses to build a backup ecosystem with a low Recovery Time Objective and a granular Recovery Point Objective (RPO). With ProSight Data Protection Services 360 Backup, Progent offers comprehensive monitoring and remote management of your backup environment to prevent data loss caused by human miscues, system errors, ill-intentioned insiders, and malware attacks such as ransomware. For details, go to ProSight Data Protection Services 360 Backup services.
Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Backup/Restore
Double-Take Software offers a selection of tools designed to provide small businesses a range of affordable alternatives for backing up and recovering vital applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server, RIM Blackberry, and Microsoft SharePoint. Progent’s disaster recovery planning consultants have in-depth experience integrating Double-Take technology into small company information networks to achieve an advanced state of availability and business continuity readiness at a budget-friendly cost. For details, visit Consulting for Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup.
Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?
Since Progent is a Microsoft Certified Partner and offers high-level application support for a broad range of business software programs, Progent can help clients to find efficient IT solutions that optimize the business value of your information system. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent can provide the expertise of certified consultants and specialists with experience in architecting, configuring and supporting networking solutions based on Cisco technology. The depth of Progent's technical experience and Progent's familiarity with the needs of small companies make Progent the ideal resource for building and maintaining an affordable, dependable information system.
How to Get in Touch with Progent's Consultants for Business Continuity Solutions Help
If you wish to contact Progent about engineering assistance for disaster recovery solutions, phone 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.