Business Continuity Planning vs. Disaster Recovery Planning
Disaster Recovery ConsultingIn 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:

  • 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 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.

The Impact and Risk Analysis phase results in the recovery requirements for each critical function. The recovery requirements consist of:

  • The business requirements for recovery of the critical function
  • The technical requirements for recovery of the critical function
Phase 2: Recovery Requirement Documentation
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:

  • 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.
Phase 4: Implementation
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:

  • Application security
  • Hardware operability check
  • Application operability/availability check
  • Data verification
Key questions that are addressed during the Testing and Verification phase of a disaster recovery plan include:
  • 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?
Phase 6: Treatment of Test Failures
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:

  • 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.
High Availability Technologies Provided by Progent's Experts
Progent's certified engineers can assist your business to implement an affordable, non-stop network that resolves major issues covering a broad array of infrastructure solutions and processes including:

CRISC-Premier IT Risk Management
The Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) program was established by ISACA in 2010 to verify an IT professional's skills to plan, deploy, and support information system controls to reduce network risk. Progent offers the services of a CRISC-certified consultant to assist your company to develop and execute a workplace continuity plan based on leading practices promoted by CRISC and geared to align with your organization's risk tolerance, business goals, and budgetary guidelines. For details, see CRISC-Certified network risk mitigation experts.

Microsoft Server 2019 Fault-tolerant Failover Clustering
Windows Server 2019 introduced important improvements in capacity, throughput, management, security and compliance, application compatibility, Linux co-existence, container technology, and hybrid integration of local and cloud assets. Headline new features of Windows Server 2019 are Windows Admin Center for unifying the management and monitoring of hybrid on-premises/cloud deployments, System Insights for utilizing advance predictive intelligence to manage on-premises environments, Windows Defender ATP Exploit Guard for host-intrusion prevention, container networking with Kubernetes, Cluster Sets technology for deploying and administering massive high-availability scale-out clusters, and Storage Migration Service for streamlining the migration from outdated versions of Windows Server. To learn more, go to Microsoft Windows Server 2019 Fault-tolerant Failover Clustering Consulting.

Microsoft Server 2016 Disaster Recovery
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery/business continuity experts can assist you to design a disaster recovery system based on Microsoft's most advanced Failover Clustering tools 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 high-performance network-attached storage using low-cost equipment, VM Load Balancing for enhancing the performance and fault-tolerance of Failover Clusters while reducing capital investment and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for easy, economical deployment of a stretch cluster quorum arbitration point. To read more, visit Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery Support.

VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is an extension to VMware vCenter that allows you to orchestrate, automate and test a repeatable process for recovering applications and services quickly after an outage. Site Recovery Manager supports centrally managed and automated disaster recovery, application mobility, and non-intrusive site relocation, failback and re-protect. SRM also allows transparent testing for disaster recovery, updates and fixes and can generate reports to confirm full service recovery, validate SLAs and demonstrate DR compliance. Progent can provide the skills of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consultant to assist you to design, configure, test and maintain a DR system powered by VMware Site Recovery Manager.

NetApp MetroCluster High Availability and Disaster Recovery Technology
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery platform that uses failover storage clustering along with continual replication to deliver rapid, zero data loss disaster recovery (DR) between datacenters located as far as 185 miles (300km) away from one another. Progent can provide access to a NetApp MetroCluster expert who can help you to plan, configure, administer, update, test and repair a disaster recovery solution based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to choose a topology for your MetroCluster deployment that aligns with your functional needs and IT budget. Progent can ensure you adhere to leading practices for installing your MetroCluster environment by delivering help with tasks such as assigning disk pools, arranging aggregate and plexes layout, provisioning volumes, setting up NetApp Snapshot, provisioning Cisco and Brocade switches, implementing a tiebreaker, designing a configuration replication network, and verifying your disaster recovery system to prove adherence with information assurance standards and regulatory requirements.

High Availability Load Balancing
Progent provides fault tolerant load balancing support that addresses system load balancing, load balanced programs, LAN/WAN backbone routing, and content dispatching products including F5 Networks 3DNS. Non-stop load balancing technologies for which Progent can provide consulting services include Microsoft Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Metaframe and Access Gateway, Cisco Content Services Switch, Cisco Content Distribution Manager and ACNS, and F5 Networks 3-DNS. To find out more, go to Fault Tolerant Load Balancing.

Fault Tolerant Colocation
Progent's Data Center professionals can show you how to find zero-downtime data centers that meet the particular requirements of your business. Fault tolerant Internet Data Centers are particularly attractive to small and mid-size organizations because of their affordability and simplified logistics compared to pursuing a do-it-yourself approach. Trying to create an in-house data center with even a basic degree of fault tolerance is too expensive for the majority of small businesses. Progent can show you how to reap all the advantages of high-availability colocation centers by offering a complete array of engineering and maintenance services. For more information, go to High-Availability Colocation Expertise.

High-Availability Inter-office Connectivity
Progent's inter-site connectivity consultants can help companies create fault tolerant interoffice connections through redundant system architectures with transparent failover. Progent's Cisco-premier CCIE engineers can design and implement high-availability Inter-office networks based on non-stop EIGRP routers or fault tolerant OSPF configurations of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how multi-path connections and automatic fail-over offers affordable 24x7 interoffice networking. To learn more, go to High-Availability Inter-office Networking.

Non-stop Internet Connections
Progent's Cisco-certified network experts can help you create an affordable, high availability Internet connection architecture that can achieve non-stop Internet connectivity through a broad array of fault tolerant Internet network solutions including fault tolerant BGP, transparent fail-over, and multiple Internet Service Providers. Progent can provide Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert consultants to help you utilize the latest techniques for 24x7 Internet connectivity to implement a cost-effective, fully redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other features to create fault tolerant Internet connections. For details, go to Fault Tolerant Internet Connectivity Solutions.

Backup and Restore Solutions Consulting and Support Services
Progent can provide economical online access to consultants with expertise in a broad range of products and technologies that deliver solutions for protecting Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux servers and desktops plus notebooks and handhelds. Progent offers expertise for all major backup platforms such as Acronis Backup and Recovery, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist Software, CrashPlan PRO, Double-Take, MozyPro, Retrospect, Apple Time Machine, VMware Data Recovery (VDR), and Oracle Solaris FLARs. Progent can help your company to design, upgrade, or maintain backup solutions for a variety of topologies including local, remote, cloud, or a mix. For more information, go to Backup and Recovery Technology Expertise.

System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Backup and Recovery Consultants
Progent's expert System Center Data Protection Manager engineers can help you to develop a practical disaster recovery strategy, design an affordable fault-tolerante IT architecture, deploy a Microsoft SCDPM-based backup and restore solution, thoroughly test your system, educate your IT personnel or regular consultants how to maintain SCDPM, or provide complete information technology outsourcing including remote housing of SCDPM servers in Progent's world-class data center facility. To learn more, visit System Center Data Protection Manager Consulting and Support Services.

Barracuda Backup Local, Offsite and Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is a low-cost, subscription-based backup/restore service for small and mid-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup solution can include a custom-designed physical appliance manufactured by Barracuda or a software-based appliance with comparable features but which uses your own storage hardware. Barracuda Backup protects critical business 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 physical or virtual Barracuda Backup appliance. Progent is a Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consulting experts can provide a broad range of consulting support services to help you to plan, configure, operate and troubleshoot a BDR solution built on Barracuda technology. For more information, visit Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting and management.

ProSight Data Protection Services Altaro VM Backup Solutions for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup software provides small and mid-size businesses a reliable and affordable solution for backing up and restoring Hyper-V and VMware-powered virtual machines. Altaro VM Backup can be deployed in local, remote, distributed, and cloud-hosted architectures and also enables low-cost backup to Azure Block Blob storage. Progent is a certified Hornetsecurity Altaro partner and can provide a wide array of remote or on-premises services to help you to plan, deploy, manage and debug a modern backup/restore solution based on Altaro VM Backup software. With ProSight DPS Altaro VM Backup, Progent delivers a managed backup/restore service powered by on Altaro VM Backup. To read more, visit Altaro VM Backup consulting.

ProSight DPS 365 Total Backup Solutions for Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 provides rudimentary archiving but does not have integrated support for crucial data protection capabilities such as Exchange Online backups or greater than 30-day point-in-time data recovery for OneDrive or SharePoint Online. Hornetsecurity's 365 Total Backup (previously branded Altaro O365 Backup) delivers a full-featured BDR solution for automatic backup and rapid restoration of all your company's M365 mailboxes, Teams Chats, SharePoint sites, OneDrive files, and content on Windows desktops and laptops. Progent is an authorized Hornetsecurity/Altaro partner and has designed ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) 365 Total Backup to provide end-to-end managed services for Hornetsecurity's 365 Total Backup suite. ProSight Data Protection Services 365 Total Backup delivers a low-cost backup-as-a-service (BaaS) alternative that guards M365 apps against data loss resulting from user or software error, malevolent corruption, and malware attacks like ransomware. To find out more, see ProSight Data Protection Services 365 Total Backup services for Microsoft 365.

Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services ECHO
ProSight Data Protection Services ECHO provide small and medium-sized organizations an affordable end-to-end service for secure backup/disaster recovery. Available at a low monthly price, ProSight Data Protection Services ECHO automates your backup activities and enable rapid recovery of vital data, applications and virtual machines that have become lost or corrupted as a result of component breakdowns, software glitches, natural disasters, human mistakes, or malware attacks like ransomware. ProSight DPS ECHO can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, apps, system images, as well as Hyper-V and VMware images. Important data can be protected on the cloud, to a local device, or to both. Progent's BDR consultants can deliver world-class support to set up ProSight DPS ECHO to to comply with regulatory requirements such as HIPAA, FIRPA, and PCI and, when necessary, can assist you to recover your critical data. Learn more about ProSight Data Protection Services ECHO managed backup and recovery.

ProSight Data Protection Services 360 Backup Solutions
Progent's data protection experts can assist your company to create, deploy and debug a backup/restore solution based on MSP360 software. MSP360 offers file or image backup/recovery for VMs and physical computers, supports all popular public clouds, and allows businesses to build a backup ecosystem with a minimum Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and a defined Recovery Point Objective (RPO). With ProSight DPS 360 Backup, Progent offers comprehensive monitoring and management of your backup system to prevent data loss caused by human mistakes, computer errors, malicious insiders, and external assaults such as ransomware. To learn more, go to ProSight Data Protection Services 360 Backup solutions.

Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Backup and Recovery
Double-Take offers a family of tools intended to deliver small and midsize businesses a range of cost-effective alternatives for backing up and restoring business-critical applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server, SQL, RIM Blackberry, and Microsoft SharePoint. Progent's disaster recovery planning experts have extensive experience integrating Double-Take technology into small company IT networks to create an advanced level of fault tolerance and disaster recovery readiness at a budget-friendly cost. For details, visit Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup.

Why Pick Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Because Progent is a Microsoft Certified Partner and offers high-level application consulting for a broad variety of business software programs, Progent can assist customers to arrive at complete IT solutions that maximize the business value of your information system. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent can provide the expertise of certified engineers and specialists with expertise in architecting, configuring and troubleshooting infrastructure environments based on Cisco technology. The extent of Progent's technical know-how and Progent's sensitivity to the needs of small and midsize companies make Progent a great resource for building and running an affordable, fault-tolerant network.

How You Can Get in Touch with Progent's Experts for Business Continuity Solutions Support
If you wish to contact Progent about technical expertise for business continuity solutions, call 1-800-993-9400 or refer to Contact Progent.

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