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:
Other Zero-Downtime Solutions 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 you to build a sensible, non-stop environment that addresses major challenges covering a wide range of networking technologies and operations including:
Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and medium-sized businesses a low cost end-to-end solution for reliable backup/disaster recovery. Available at a fixed monthly cost, ProSight DPS automates and monitors your backup processes and allows fast recovery of critical files, apps and VMs that have become lost or damaged as a result of component failures, software glitches, disasters, human mistakes, or malicious attacks like ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, applications, system images, plus 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 cloud backup consultants can provide advanced expertise to set up ProSight DPS to to comply with regulatory requirements like HIPAA, FIRPA, and PCI and, when necessary, can assist you to recover your critical data. Learn more about ProSight DPS Managed Backup and Recovery.
Microsoft Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery/business continuity experts can help your organization to design a DR solution based on Microsoft's latest Failover Clustering technologies such as Cluster Operating System 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 commodity hardware, VM Load Balancing for enhancing the speed and resilience of Failover Clusters while minimizing capital investment and management overhead, and Cloud Witness for easy, affordable deployment of a stretch cluster quorum arbitration point. To learn more, visit Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery Support.
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Failover Clustering
Windows Server 2008 R2 brought world-class availability and system recovery to Microsoft's clustering platform. Windows Server 2012 R2 builds on this foundation and delivers significant improvements offering increased expandability, non-stop disk storage uptime for server applications, simpler management, quicker automatic failover, and more flexibility for designing failover clusters. For more information, see Windows Server 2012 R2 Failover Clustering Integration.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager is a component of VMware vCenter that lets you define, automate and verify a consistent runbook for recovering services rapidly after a breakdown. SRM provides centrally controlled and automated recovery, application mobility, and non-intrusive site migration, failback and re-protect. Site Recovery Manager also supports non-disruptive testing for disaster recovery, updates and patches and can generate reports to confirm complete service recovery, validate SLAs and demonstrate DR compliance. Progent can provide the support of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consulting expert to help you to plan, configure, test and maintain a DR system based on VMware Site Recovery Manager.
NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Software
NetApp MetroCluster is a high-availability and disaster recovery software suite that uses failover storage clustering along with continual replication to deliver rapid, zero data loss disaster recovery between datacenters located as far as 185 miles apart. Progent offers online or on-premises access to a NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can help you to design, deploy, administer, upgrade, test and troubleshoot a disaster recovery solution based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to select a topology for your MetroCluster deployment that aligns with your functional requirements and IT budget. Progent can make sure you follow best practices for configuring your MetroCluster solution by providing guidance with procedures like assigning disk pools, determining plexes layout, provisioning FlexVol volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, installing switches, designing a tiebreaker mechanism, setting up a TCP/IP configuration replication network between your storage clusters, and testing your DR solution to verify compliance with industry standards and regulatory requirements.
Network Load Balancing
Progent offers fault tolerant load balancing support covering network load balancing, load balanced programs, network backbone routing, and content delivery products such as F5 Networks 3DNS. Non-stop load balancing technologies for which Progent can provide consulting services 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 ACNS, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. To find out more, see Fault Tolerant Load Balancing.
Zero Downtime Colocation
Progent's Data Center professionals can show you how to find fault-tolerant data centers that meet the particular needs of your company. High availability co-location sites are especially attractive to small and mid-size businesses due to of their affordability and simplified logistics in comparison to pursuing a do-it-yourself strategy. Attempting to create an on-site data center with even a minimum degree of fault tolerance is too costly for typical small organizations. Progent is ready to help you reap all the benefits of 24x7 colocation facilities by providing a complete range of engineering and support services. For details, visit Fault Tolerant Internet Data Centers Consulting.
24x7 Interoffice Connectivity
Progentís inter-site connectivity professionals can help businesses achieve fault tolerant inter-site connections through redundant system architectures featuring automatic failover. Progentís Cisco-premier CCIE engineers can plan and implement ultra-reliable Inter-office networks based on zero-downtime EIGRP network routers or zero-downtime OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can show you how multi-path connections and transparent fail-over can provide economical 24x7 interoffice networking. For more information, visit High-Availability Inter-office Connectivity.
24x7 Internet Connectivity
Progent's Cisco-authorized network professionals can show you how to create an economical, fault tolerant Internet configuration architecture that can deliver non-stop Internet access via a wide range of high availability Internet network solutions including non-stop BGP, transparent fail-over, and multiple ISPs. Progent offers CCIE engineers to show you how to apply the latest techniques for high availability Internet connections to build a cost-effective, fully redundant Internet interface with automatic failover and other capabilities to deliver non-stop Internet access. For details, go to 24x7 Internet Connectivity Architecture.
Backup and Recovery Solutions Consulting Services
Progent can provide economical online support from engineers skilled in a wide range of utilities and services that deliver solutions for backing up Windows, Mac, and Linux physical and virtual servers and desktops plus notebooks and smartphones. Progent can provide expertise for leading backup products such as Acronis Backup and Recovery, Backup Exec, BackupAssist Software, CrashPlan PRO, Double-Take Backup, MozyPro, Retrospect for Macintosh, Time Machine, VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP), and Oracle Solaris FLARs. Progent can assist you to install, enhance, or troubleshoot backup solutions for a range of topologies including local, remote, cloud-based, or a mix. For more information, go to Backup and Restore Solutions Expertise.
System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Backup and Recovery Consulting Experts
Progent's certified System Center Data Protection Manager engineers can help you to create an effective business continuity strategy, implement an affordable high-availability IT architecture, install a SCDPM-based recovery system, comprehensively test your system, train your IT personnel or regular service providers how to manage SCDPM, or provide complete information technology support outsourcing including remote hosting of SCDPM machines in Progent's data center. For details, see Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Consulting.
Barracuda Backup Cloud and Offsite Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is an affordable, subscription backup and disaster recovery platform for small and mid-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup deployment can incorporate a purpose-built hardware appliance built by Barracuda or a software-based appliance with comparable functionality but which uses your own storage infrastructure. Barracuda Backup protects vital company data generated on-premises, at one or more remote locations, or in the cloud. For disaster protection, you can replicate data to the Barracuda Cloud, to Amazon AWS, or to any site with a Barracuda Backup appliance. Progent is a certified Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consultants can provide a wide array of consulting services to assist your business to design, integrate, operate and repair a BDR solution built on Barracuda Backup. For more information, visit Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting and management.
Altaro VM Backup Solutions for Backup and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup offers small organizations a dependable and budget-friendly solution for backing up and recovering Hyper-V and VMware-based virtual machines. Altaro VM Backup can be deployed in local, offsite, multi-site, and cloud-hosted environments and also enables cost-effective backup to Azure storage. Headline capabilities include industry-leading inline deduplication to reduce backup storage requirements, Continuous Data Protection (CDP) with backup intervals as short as five minutes for reducing your Recovery Point Objective (RPO), advanced encryption, item-level recovery capability for specific files and emails, support for Windows Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) and for vCenter for managing large-scale environments, and support for Microsoft VSS technology to back up live VMs with zero downtime. Progent is an Altaro partner and can provide a broad array of consulting services to help you to design, install, manage and troubleshoot a backup/restore system based on Altaro VM Backup. For more information, see Altaro VM Backup Consulting Services.
Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Backup and Recovery
Double-Take Software publishes a selection of tools intended to provide small and midsize companies a range of cost-effective solutions for backing up and restoring business-critical workloads including Exchange, Microsoft SQL, Blackberry, and SharePoint. Progentís business continuity planning experts have extensive experience incorporating Double-Take Software technology into small business IT networks to create an advanced level of fault tolerance and disaster recovery readiness at a budget-friendly price. To learn more, visit Consulting for Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup.
CRISC-Premier Network Risk Control
The Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) program was established by ISACA in 2010 to verify a consultant's skills to design, implement, and maintain IS controls to mitigate risk. Progent offers the services of a CRISC-certified consultant to help your company to develop and carry out a workplace continuity or disaster recovery plan based on leading practices promoted by CRISC and geared to align with your organization's risk appetite, business goals, and budgetary guidelines. To learn more, go to CRISC-Premier IT risk management specialists.
Why Pick Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?
Because Progent is a Microsoft Partner and offers specialized application support for a wide range of business software programs, Progent can help customers to find comprehensive information technology solutions that optimize the productivity of your information system. As a Registered Partner with Cisco, Progent offers the support of premier consultants and specialists with expertise in architecting, implementing and supporting infrastructure environments based on Cisco technology. The depth of Progent's technical know-how and Progent's sensitivity to the needs of small and midsize companies make Progent the perfect partner for creating and running an affordable, dependable information system.
How You Can Access Progent's Engineers for Business Continuity Solutions Help
In order to contact Progent about consulting expertise for disaster recovery solutions, call 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.