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 Fault Tolerant Technologies Provided 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 consultants can help your business to design a sensible, zero-downtime system that resolves key challenges encompassing a wide array of infrastructure solutions and processes such as:
Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent provide small and medium-sized businesses an affordable end-to-end service for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). For a fixed monthly rate, ProSight Data Protection Services automates and monitors your backup processes and allows rapid restoration of critical data, applications and virtual machines that have become lost or damaged as a result of component failures, software glitches, natural disasters, human error, or malicious attacks like ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you back up, retrieve and restore files, folders, apps, 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 backup and recovery specialists can provide world-class support to configure ProSight Data Protection Services to to comply with regulatory requirements like HIPPA, FINRA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, when necessary, can help you to restore your business-critical information. Read more about ProSight Data Protection Services Managed Backup.
Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery/business continuity experts can assist your organization to plan and deploy a disaster recovery solution built around Microsoft's most advanced Failover Clustering tools such as Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade for non-intrusive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for zero-data-loss recovery, Storage Spaces Direct for enterprise-class storage clusters using commodity hardware, Virtual Machine Load Balancing for enhancing the speed and resilience of Failover Clusters while reducing capital investment and management overhead, and Cloud Witness for fast, economical deployment of a stretch cluster quorum arbitration point. To read more, see Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Consulting.
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Failover Clusters
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 introduced world-class availability and recoverability to Microsoft's clustering solution. Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 adds to this foundation and delivers important improvements offering increased scalability, non-stop disk storage uptime for server applications, easier management, quicker failover, and more flexibility for designing failover clusters. To learn more, visit Windows Server 2012 R2 Failover Clustering Consulting and Support.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is a component of VMware vCenter that lets you specify, automate and verify a repeatable runbook for recovering applications and services rapidly following a breakdown. Site Recovery Manager supports centrally controlled and automated disaster recovery, application mobility, and transparent site relocation, failback and site re-protect. Site Recovery Manager also allows non-intrusive testing for disaster recovery, upgrades and patches and can generate reports to verify full service restoration, validate Service Level Agreements and demonstrate disaster recovery compliance. Progent offers the support of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consulting expert to assist your organization to design, configure, test and maintain a disaster recovery solution powered by VMware Site Recovery Manager.
NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Platform
NetApp MetroCluster is a high-availability and disaster recovery software suite that uses array-based storage clustering along with synchronous replication to provide fast, zero data loss disaster recovery between datacenters that are as far as 300km away from one another. Progent can provide online or on-premises access to a certified NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can assist you to design, deploy, administer, update, test and troubleshoot a disaster recovery system built around NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to choose an architecture for your MetroCluster deployment that meets your technical requirements and budget. Progent can make sure you adhere to best practices for configuring your MetroCluster solution by delivering guidance with procedures like assigning shelf IDs, arranging aggregate and plexes layout, provisioning NetApp FlexVol volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, provisioning Cisco and Brocade switches, designing a tiebreaker, designing a TCP/IP configuration replication network between your storage clusters, and testing your MetroCluster DR system to verify compliance with industry standards and government requirements.
High Availability Load Balancing
Progent offers fault tolerant load balancing support that addresses network load balancing, load balanced programs, network backbone routing, and content delivery products such as F5 Networks 3DNS. Fault tolerant load balancing technologies for which Progent offers consulting services include Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Metaframe and Presentation Server, Cisco Content Services Switch, Cisco Distributed Director and ACNS, and F5 Networks 3-DNS. To find out more, visit Non-stop Load Balancing.
Zero Downtime Internet Data Centers
Progent's Data Center professionals can show you how to find zero-downtime data centers that meet the specific needs of your company. High availability co-location sites are especially attractive to small and mid-size companies due to of their affordability and convenience in comparison to taking a do-it-yourself approach. Attempting to create an on-site data center with even a minimum degree of fault tolerance is too expensive for most small organizations. Progent can help you get all the benefits of non-stop colocation centers by offering a full array of consulting and support services. To find out more, see Fault Tolerant Internet Data Centers Expertise.
24x7 Interoffice Networking
Progentís interoffice network infrastructure professionals can help organizations create non-stop inter-site connections through redundant system architectures featuring automatic failover. Progentís Cisco-certified CCIE network engineers can design and implement high-availability Inter-office networks supported by fault tolerant EIGRP routers or non-stop OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how multi-path connections and transparent fail-over offers economical 24x7 interoffice networking. To find out more, go to High-Availability Interoffice Connectivity.
Fault Tolerant Internet Access
Progent's Cisco-certified network engineers can show you how to build an affordable, high availability Internet configuration architecture that can deliver non-stop Internet access through a wide range of fault tolerant Internet access solutions including fault tolerant BGP, automatic fail-over, and multiple Internet Service Providers. Progent can provide Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert consultants to help you utilize the latest techniques for fault tolerant Internet access to implement an affordable, completely redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other features to deliver zero-downtime Internet availability. To read more, visit Non-stop Internet Connectivity Solutions.
Backup and Restore Technology Consulting Services
Progent offers affordable remote support from engineers skilled in a wide array of utilities and services that provide solutions for backing up Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux/UNIX physical and virtual servers and desktops as well as notebooks and smartphones. Progent offers consulting support for leading data protection platforms such as Acronis, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist Software, CrashPlan PRO, Double-Take, MozyPro, Retrospect, Apple Time Machine, vSphere Data Protection, and Solaris FLARs. Progent's consultants can help you to design, upgrade, or troubleshoot backup systems for a range of environments such as on-premises, remote, cloud-based, or a mix. To learn more, visit Backup and Recovery Solutions Consulting Services.
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Backup and Restore Consulting Services
Progent's certified Microsoft SCDPM consultants can assist you to develop an effective workplace recovery plan, design a cost-effective high-availability network infrastructure, configure a Microsoft SCDPM-based backup and recovery system, thoroughly validate your system, educate your IT staff or regular consultants how to maintain Microsoft SCDPM, or provide complete information technology support outsourcing including off-site housing of SCDPM servers in Progent's world-class data center. To learn more, go to System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Expertise.
Barracuda Backup On-premises and Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is an affordable, subscription-based backup and disaster recovery platform for small and medium-size businesses. A Barracuda Backup solution can incorporate a purpose-built hardware appliance manufactured by Barracuda or a virtual appliance with similar features but which utilizes your own storage hardware. Barracuda Backup protects critical company data produced locally, at one or more remote locations, or in the cloud. For disaster preparedness, you can replicate data to the Barracuda Cloud, to Amazon Web Services (AWS), or to any site with a physical or virtual Barracuda Backup appliance. Progent is a Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consulting experts offer a broad range of consulting services to help your business to design, configure, operate and repair a backup and disaster recovery system built on Barracuda Backup. For details, see Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consultants.
Altaro VM Backup Solutions for Backup and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup software provides small organizations a reliable and budget-friendly platform for backing up and recovering Hyper-V and VMware-based VMs. Altaro VM Backup can be deployed in on-premises, remote, distributed, and cloud environments and also supports low-cost backup to Microsoft Azure Block Blob storage. Headline capabilities include industry-leading Augmented Inline Deduplication to reduce backup storage needs, Continuous Data Protection with backup spacing as little as five minutes for reducing your Recovery Point Objective, advanced encryption, granular recovery capability for individual files and emails, extensive support for Windows Server CSV and for VMware vCenter for managing larger environments, and support for Microsoft VSS technology to back up live virtual machines with zero downtime. Progent is an Altaro partner and offers a broad array of consulting services to assist you to design, install, manage and troubleshoot a backup and disaster recovery solution based on Altaro VM Backup. For details, visit Altaro VM Backup Certified Consultants.
Consulting for Double-Take Solutions for Backup and Recovery
Double-Take Software publishes a family of products intended to deliver small and midsize businesses a variety of cost-effective alternatives for replicating and restoring vital applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Blackberry, and Microsoft Office SharePoint. Progentís disaster recovery planning experts have extensive backgrounds integrating Double-Take products into small business IT networks to create a high level of fault tolerance and business continuity readiness at a budget-friendly price. For details, go to Consulting for Double-Take Software for Data Backup.
CRISC-Certified IT Risk Management
The CRISC program was initiated by ISACA in 2010 to validate a consultant's ability to plan, deploy, and support IS control mechanisms to mitigate network risk. Progent can provide the services of a CRISC-certified consultant to assist your company to develop and carry out a business continuity or disaster recovery plan that follows leading practices promoted by CRISC and geared to match your company's risk tolerance, business objectives, and IT budget. To learn more, visit CRISC-Certified network risk mitigation experts.
Why Pick Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?
Because Progent is a Microsoft Partner and provides high-level application consulting for a broad range of small business applications, Progent can assist clients to arrive at efficient information technology solutions that optimize the business value of your IT network. As a Registered Partner with Cisco, Progent can provide the services of premier engineers and specialists with experience in architecting, installing and maintaining infrastructure environments based on Cisco technology. The breadth of Progent's technical experience and Progent's familiarity with the needs of small businesses make Progent the perfect resource for building and running an affordable, dependable network.
How You Can Contact Progent's Engineers for Disaster Recovery Planning Help
To ask Progent about professional expertise for workplace recovery planning, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.