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 Non-stop Technologies Provided by Progent's Experts
- 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 consulting experts can help you to design a sensible, zero-downtime system that addresses key challenges encompassing a wide array of networking solutions and processes such as:
Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent offer small and mid-sized businesses a low cost and fully managed solution for secure backup/disaster recovery. Available at a low monthly rate, ProSight DPS automates your backup processes and allows fast recovery of critical files, applications and virtual machines that have become lost or damaged due to hardware breakdowns, software bugs, disasters, human error, or malware attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, applications, system images, as well as Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware images/. Important data can be backed up on the cloud, to an on-promises device, or to both. Progent's cloud backup specialists can deliver world-class support to configure ProSight DPS to be compliant with government and industry regulatory requirements like HIPAA, FIRPA, and PCI and, whenever needed, can help you to recover your critical data. Learn more about ProSight Data Protection Services Managed Backup and Recovery.
Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery consultants can assist your organization to design a DR solution based on Microsoft's cloud-tested Failover Clustering technologies such as Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade for non-disruptive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for crash-consistent recovery, Storage Spaces Direct for enterprise-class storage clusters using industry-standard hardware, Virtual Machine Load Balancing for enhancing the speed and fault-tolerance of Failover Clusters while minimizing TCO and management overhead, and Cloud Witness for easy, affordable creation of a failover cluster quorum witness. For more information, see Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery Expertise.
Windows Server 2012 Failover Clusters
Windows Server 2008 R2 brought world-class fault tolerance and system recovery to Microsoft's failover clustering solution. Windows Server 2012 R2 builds on this technology and provides important improvements offering more extensibility, non-stop disk storage availability for server applications, streamlined management, faster failover, and more flexibility for designing failover clusters. For more information, see Windows Server 2012 R2 Failover Clustering Consulting and Support.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is an extension to VMware vCenter that lets you orchestrate, automate and verify a repeatable workflow for recovering applications and services rapidly following a breakdown. SRM provides centrally managed and automated recovery, application mobility, and non-intrusive site migration, failback and site re-protect. SRM also allows non-intrusive testing for site recovery, updates and fixes and can generate reports to verify full service recovery, validate SLAs and prove disaster recovery compliance. Progent offers the support of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consultant to assist you to design, configure, test and administer a DR system powered by VMware Site Recovery Manager.
NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Software
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery software suite that uses failover storage clustering along with continual replication to deliver rapid, zero RPO disaster recovery (DR) between sites located as far as 185 miles apart. Progent offers the skills of a NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can assist your business to plan, configure, administer, update, test and repair a disaster recovery system built around NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to select an architecture for your MetroCluster environment that meets your functional needs and IT budget. Progent can ensure you adhere to best practices for configuring your MetroCluster solution by providing help with tasks such as assigning shelf IDs, determining aggregate and plexes layout, setting up FlexVol volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, provisioning switches, designing a tiebreaker, designing a configuration replication network, and verifying your disaster recovery solution to verify adherence with industry standards and regulatory requirements.
High Availability Load Balancing
Progent offers high availability load balancing consulting that addresses network load balancing, load balanced programs, LAN/WAN infrastructure routing, and content dispatching products such as F5 Networks 3DNS. Non-stop load balancing technologies for which Progent can provide consulting services include Windows Server 2003 and 2008 Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Access Suite and Presentation Server, Cisco CSS, Cisco Distributed Director and ACNS, and F5 Networks 3-DNS. For more information, visit High Availability Load Balancing.
Zero Downtime Colocation
Progent's Data Center consultants can show you how to identify fault-tolerant data centers that meet the particular requirements of your company. Fault tolerant collocation sites are especially attractive to small and mid-size businesses because of their affordability and convenience in comparison to taking a do-it-yourself strategy. Attempting to design an on-site data center with even a basic level of fault tolerance is too expensive for typical small companies. Progent is ready to show you how to reap all the advantages of 24x7 colo sites by providing a complete array of consulting and support services. To read more, go to Non-stop Internet Data Centers Consulting.
Fault Tolerant Interoffice Connectivity
Progentís inter-site connection engineers can help companies achieve non-stop interoffice connectivity solutions through redundant networks with transparent failover. Progentís Cisco-premier CCIE network engineers can design and implement high-availability Inter-office networks based on zero-downtime EIGRP network routers or zero-downtime OSPF configurations of Cisco routers. Progent can show you how redundant connections and automatic fail-over offers affordable non-stop interoffice connectivity. For details, visit Fault Tolerant Interoffice Networking.
Fault Tolerant Internet Connectivity
Progent's Cisco-certified network consultants can help you design an affordable, fault tolerant Internet configuration solution that can deliver 24x7 Internet access via a wide range of fault tolerant Internet network solutions including non-stop BGP, automatic fail-over, and redundant Internet Service Providers. Progent can provide CCIE engineers to show you how to apply the latest technology for 24x7 Internet connectivity to build an economical, fully redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other features to create non-stop Internet access. For details, go to 24x7 Internet Access Architecture.
Backup and Recovery Technology Consulting Experts
Progent can provide economical remote support from IT engineers skilled in a broad range of products and services that deliver solutions for backing up Windows, Mac, and Linux physical and virtual servers and workstations plus laptops and handhelds. Progent can provide consulting support for leading backup products including Acronis, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist, CrashPlan, Double-Take Backup, MozyPro, Retrospect for Macintosh, Time Machine, VMware Data Recovery, and Oracle Solaris FLARs. Progent's consultants can assist you to implement, upgrade, or troubleshoot backup/restore solutions for a range of topologies including on-premises, edge to datacenter, cloud-based, or a mix. To read more, see Backup and Recovery Technology Consulting and Support Services.
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Data Recovery Consulting Services
Progent's certified System Center Data Protection Manager engineers can assist your company to create a practical workplace recovery plan, design a cost-effective high-availability network infrastructure, install a Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager-powered backup and restore system, comprehensively validate your system, educate your IT personnel or local consultants how to maintain Microsoft SCDPM, or provide complete IT outsourcing services including remote hosting of System Center Data Protection Manager servers in Progent's data center. For more information, visit Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Consulting Services.
Barracuda Backup Cloud and Offsite Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is an affordable, subscription backup and disaster recovery service for small and medium-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup deployment can incorporate a custom-designed physical storage device built by Barracuda or a software-based appliance with comparable functionality but which uses your own storage infrastructure. Barracuda Backup safeguards critical company data generated 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 location with a physical or virtual Barracuda appliance. Progent is a Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consulting experts offer a wide range of consulting services to help you to design, integrate, manage and troubleshoot a BDR solution built on Barracuda Backup. For more information, go to Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting.
Altaro VM Backup Software for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup offers small businesses a reliable and budget-friendly platform for backing up and restoring 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 Azure storage. Top capabilities include state-of-the-art Augmented Inline Deduplication to reduce backup storage needs, Continuous Data Protection with backup intervals as low as five minutes for minimizing your Recovery Point Objective, military-grade encryption, granular recovery options for individual files and emails, support for Windows Server Cluster Shared Volumes and for VMware vCenter for managing large-scale environments, and support for Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service to back up online virtual machines without downtime. Progent is an Altaro partner and offers a broad array of consulting services to assist you to design, deploy, manage and troubleshoot a backup/restore solution based on Altaro VM Backup. For details, visit Altaro VM Backup Consulting.
Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Backup
Double-Take offers a selection of tools designed to provide small companies a range of cost-effective alternatives for replicating and restoring business-critical workloads such as Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server, RIM Blackberry, and Microsoft Office SharePoint. Progentís disaster recovery planning experts have in-depth backgrounds incorporating Double-Take products into small company information systems to achieve an advanced level of fault tolerance and disaster recovery capability at an affordable price. To read more, go to Consulting for Double-Take Software for Data Backup.
CRISC-Certified IT Risk Management
The CRISC certification program was initiated by ISACA to verify an IT professional's skills to plan, deploy, and support information system controls to mitigate risk. Progent can provide the expertise of a CRISC-certified consultant to help you to create and execute a business continuity plan based on industry best practices promoted by CRISC and crafted to match your company's risk tolerance, business goals, and budgetary guidelines. To read more, go to CRISC-Certified network risk control specialists.
Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?
Because Progent is a Microsoft Partner and provides specialized application consulting for a wide range of business software programs, Progent can assist clients to arrive at comprehensive IT solutions that substantially enhance the productivity of your information system. As a Registered Partner with Cisco, Progent can provide the expertise of certified engineers and specialists with expertise in architecting, configuring and supporting infrastructure environments based on Cisco technology. The breadth of Progent's technical know-how and Progent's appreciation for the needs of small and midsize businesses make Progent the ideal resource for building and maintaining a cost-effective, high-availability information system.
How to Contact Progent's Engineers for Disaster Recovery Planning Help
To get in touch with Progent about professional support for disaster recovery solutions, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.