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 High Availability Solutions 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 Microsoft and Cisco-certified engineers can help your business to create an affordable, non-stop system that addresses critical challenges encompassing a broad range of networking technologies and processes such as:
Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and mid-sized businesses an affordable and fully managed service for secure backup/disaster recovery (BDR). Available at a fixed monthly rate, ProSight Data Protection Services automates your backup activities and allows rapid recovery of vital files, applications and VMs that have become unavailable or damaged due to component failures, software bugs, natural disasters, human mistakes, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you protect, recover and restore files, folders, apps, system images, as well as Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Critical data can be protected on the cloud, to a local storage device, or to both. Progent's cloud backup consultants can deliver advanced support to set up ProSight Data Protection Services to to comply with regulatory requirements like HIPAA, FINRA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, when needed, can assist you to recover your business-critical data. Find out more about ProSight DPS Managed Backup and Recovery.
Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery experts can help you to design a DR system built around Microsoft's cloud-tested Failover Clustering technologies such as Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade for non-disruptive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for zero-data-loss recovery, Storage Spaces Direct for high-performance storage clusters using low-cost equipment, VM Load Balancing for improving the performance and resilience of Failover Clusters while minimizing TCO and management overhead, and Cloud Witness for fast, economical deployment of a stretch cluster quorum arbitration point. To read more, visit Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Help.
Microsoft Server 2012 Failover Clustering
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 introduced world-class availability and system recovery to Microsoft's clustering solution. Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 adds to this technology and delivers important improvements offering increased extensibility, better disk storage uptime for server applications, streamlined management, faster failover, and additional options for designing failover clusters. For more information, go to Windows Server 2012 Clustering Integration.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is an extension to VMware vCenter that allows you to define, automate and verify a repeatable workflow for recovering services quickly following a breakdown. Site Recovery Manager provides centrally controlled and automated recovery, application mobility, plus non-intrusive site migration, failback and re-protect. SRM also supports non-disruptive testing for site recovery, upgrades and patches and can generate reports to verify complete service recovery, 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, configure, test and manage a DR system powered by VMware SRM.
NetApp MetroCluster High Availability and Disaster Recovery Software
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery software suite that combines array-based storage clustering with replication to provide rapid, zero RPO disaster recovery between datacenters located up to 300km apart from each other. Progent offers online or on-premises access to a NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can assist your business to plan, deploy, manage, 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 technical requirements and budget. Progent can make sure you follow best practices for installing your MetroCluster environment by providing help with procedures such as assigning disk pools, arranging plexes layout, provisioning FlexVol volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, provisioning Cisco and Brocade switches, designing a tiebreaker mechanism, designing a configuration replication network, and verifying your disaster recovery system to prove compliance with industry standards and regulatory mandates.
Network Load Balancing
Progent provides high availability load balancing support that addresses network load balancing, load balanced applications, network backbone routing, and content delivery technology such as F5 Networks 3DNS. High availability load balancing technologies for which Progent can provide consulting services include Microsoft Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Metaframe and Presentation Server, Cisco CSS, Cisco Distributed Director and Cisco CDN Software, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. To learn more, see High Availability Load Balancing.
Progent's Data Center professionals can show you how to select fault-tolerant data centers that meet the specific needs of your company. High availability Internet Data Centers are especially attractive to small and mid-size organizations due to of their low cost and convenience in comparison to pursuing a do-it-yourself strategy. Attempting to build an on-site data center that offers even a minimum degree of fault tolerance is financially prohibitive for typical small companies. Progent is ready to help you get all the advantages of high-availability colocation centers by offering a complete range of engineering and support services. To learn more, go to Fault Tolerant Colocation Consulting.
High-Availability Branch Office Networking
Progentís branch office connectivity consultants can help organizations achieve fault tolerant interoffice connections via fully redundant system architectures featuring transparent failover. Progentís Cisco-certified CCIE network engineers can design and deploy ultra-reliable Inter-office networks based on fault tolerant EIGRP routers or zero-downtime OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how redundant connections and transparent fail-over offers economical non-stop interoffice connectivity. For more information, see Fault Tolerant Interoffice Connectivity.
24x7 Internet Connectivity
Progent's Cisco-authorized IT engineers can show you how to create an economical, fault tolerant Internet connection solution that can achieve non-stop Internet connectivity via a broad range of fault tolerant Internet access technologies including high availability BGP, automatic fail-over, and multiple ISPs. Progent can provide Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert engineers to show you how to apply the latest techniques for high availability Internet connections to implement an economical, fully redundant Internet interface with automatic failover and other capabilities to deliver fault tolerant Internet connections. To read more, visit Fault Tolerant Internet Connectivity Architecture.
Backup and Recovery Technology Consulting Experts
Progent can provide affordable remote support from engineers with expertise in a broad array of products and services that deliver solutions for protecting Microsoft Windows, Mac, and Linux/UNIX servers and desktops plus notebooks and smartphones. Progent offers expertise for leading backup products including Acronis, Backup Exec, BackupAssist Software, CrashPlan, Double-Take, Mozy, Retrospect for Macintosh, Apple Time Machine, VMware Data Recovery (VDR), and Solaris FLARs. Progent can assist your company to deploy, upgrade, or maintain backup/restore systems for a variety of environments including local, remote, cloud, or hybrid. For details, visit Backup and Restore Solutions Consulting and Support Services.
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Data Recovery Consultants
Progent's certified System Center Data Protection Manager engineers can help you to develop a practical workplace recovery strategy, implement an affordable fault-tolerante network infrastructure, deploy a SCDPM-based backup and recovery system, comprehensively test your DPM system, train your IT personnel or local consultants how to manage SCDPM, or provide complete IT support outsourcing such as off-site hosting of System Center Data Protection Manager servers in Progent's world-class data center facility. For details, go to Microsoft SCDPM Expertise.
Barracuda Backup On-premises and Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is a low-cost, subscription backup and disaster recovery platform for small and medium-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup solution can include a custom-designed hardware storage device manufactured by Barracuda or a virtual appliance with comparable functionality but which utilizes your own storage hardware. Barracuda Backup protects critical company data produced on-premises, at one or more remote locations, or in the cloud. For disaster preparedness, you can replicate data to the Barracuda Cloud, to Amazon AWS, or to any location with a Barracuda appliance. Progent is a Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consulting experts can provide a wide array of consulting services to assist you to plan, configure, operate and repair a backup and disaster recovery solution built on Barracuda technology. For more information, go to 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 restoring Hyper-V and VMware-based virtual machines (VMs). Altaro VM Backup can be deployed in on-premises, offsite, distributed, and cloud-hosted architectures and also supports low-cost cloud backup to Microsoft Azure Block Blob storage. Headline features include state-of-the-art inline deduplication to reduce backup storage needs, Continuous Data Protection (CDP) with backup intervals as little as five minutes for minimizing your Recovery Point Objective (RPO), advanced encryption, granular recovery options for individual files and emails, support for Windows Server Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) and VMware vCenter for handling large-scale deployments, and support for Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service to back up online virtual machines with zero downtime. Progent is a certified Altaro partner and offers a broad range of services to assist you to design, install, manage and troubleshoot a backup/restore solution powered by Altaro VM Backup software. To find out more, visit Altaro VM Backup Consulting Services.
Consulting for Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup/Restore
Double-Take Software offers a family of tools designed to provide small businesses a range of cost-effective alternatives for backing up and recovering business-critical workloads such as Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, RIM Blackberry, and SharePoint. Progentís disaster recovery planning experts have extensive experience incorporating Double-Take Software products into small business IT networks to create an advanced level of fault tolerance and business continuity capability at an affordable price. To read more, go to Consulting for Double-Take Solutions for Backup.
CRISC-Premier IT Risk Control
The CRISC certification program was initiated by ISACA in 2010 to validate an IT professional's skills to design, implement, and support IS controls to reduce risk. Progent offers the expertise of a CRISC-certified engineer to assist your company to create and carry out a business continuity or disaster recovery plan based on industry best practices promoted by CRISC and crafted to align with your organization's risk tolerance, business objectives, and budgetary guidelines. For details, visit CRISC-Premier network risk mitigation experts.
Why Pick Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?
Because Progent is a Microsoft Certified Partner and provides specialized application expertise for a broad variety of small business software programs, Progent can assist customers to arrive at comprehensive information technology solutions that maximize the productivity of your IT network. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent offers the expertise of premier consultants and specialists with expertise in architecting, configuring and maintaining infrastructure environments based on Cisco products. The extent of Progent's IT know-how and Progent's sensitivity to the needs of small and midsize companies make Progent the ideal partner for building and maintaining a cost-effective, dependable network.
How You Can Contact Progent's Experts for Disaster Recovery Planning Support
In order to get in touch with Progent about engineering expertise for workplace recovery solutions, phone 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.