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.
Other High Availability Solutions Offered by Progent's Experts
Progent's certified support professionals can assist your company to implement a sensible, non-stop system that resolves key challenges covering a wide array of networking technologies and processes including:

Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and medium-sized organizations a low cost end-to-end service for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). For a fixed monthly price, ProSight DPS automates and monitors your backup processes and enables rapid recovery of critical data, apps and virtual machines that have become lost or damaged due to hardware failures, software glitches, disasters, human error, or malware attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, apps, system images, as well as Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Important data can be protected on the cloud, to a local storage device, or to both. Progent's cloud backup specialists can deliver advanced expertise to set up ProSight DPS to be compliant with regulatory requirements like HIPPA, FINRA, and PCI and, when necessary, can help you to recover your business-critical data. Learn more about ProSight DPS Managed Cloud Backup.

Microsoft Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery/business continuity consultants can help your organization to plan and deploy a disaster recovery system based on Microsoft's cloud-tested Failover Clustering tools including Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade for non-disruptive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for crash-consistent Recovery Point Objective (RPO), Storage Spaces Direct for high-performance network-attached storage using commodity hardware, VM Load Balancing for improving the performance and fault-tolerance of Failover Clusters while minimizing TCO and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for easy, economical creation of a stretch cluster quorum arbitration point. For details, go to Microsoft 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 clustering solution. Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 builds on this technology and delivers important enhancements that offer more expandability, non-stop storage availability for server applications, easier management, quicker automatic failover, and additional options for designing failover clusters. To find out more, go to Windows Server 2012 R2 Failover Clustering Migration and Support.

VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager is a component of VMware vCenter that lets you specify, automate and verify a consistent runbook for restoring services quickly following a breakdown. Site Recovery Manager provides centrally controlled and automated recovery, application mobility, plus non-intrusive site relocation, failback and site re-protect. SRM also supports transparent testing for disaster recovery, updates and fixes and can produce reports to verify full service restoration, validate Service Level Agreements and demonstrate DR compliance. Progent offers the skills of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consulting expert to help you to design, deploy, test and manage a disaster recovery solution based on VMware SRM.

NetApp MetroCluster High Availability and Disaster Recovery Software
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery platform that combines failover storage clustering along with replication to deliver fast, zero RPO disaster recovery (DR) between datacenters that are up to 185 miles (300km) apart from each other. Progent can provide access to a NetApp MetroCluster expert who can help your business to design, configure, administer, upgrade, test and repair a disaster recovery solution based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to select a topology for your MetroCluster deployment that meets your technical requirements and budget. Progent can make sure you follow leading practices for installing your MetroCluster environment by delivering guidance with tasks such as assigning disk pools and shelf IDs, arranging aggregate layout, provisioning FlexVol volumes, setting up NetApp Snapshot, installing switches, designing a tiebreaker, designing a configuration replication network between your storage clusters, and verifying your MetroCluster disaster recovery system to show adherence with industry standards and regulatory mandates.

High Availability Load Balancing
Progent offers fault tolerant load balancing support covering network load balancing, load balanced applications, LAN/WAN infrastructure routing, and content dispatching products including Cisco Content Engine. Non-stop load balancing technologies for which Progent offers consulting services include Windows Server 2003 and 2008 Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Metaframe and Presentation Server, Cisco CSS, Cisco Distributed Director and ACNS, and F5 Networks 3-DNS. To learn more, visit Fault Tolerant Load Balancing.

Fault Tolerant Data Centers
Progent's Data Center engineers can show you how to identify fault-tolerant data centers that meet the specific requirements of your company. High availability co-location sites are particularly attractive to small and mid-size organizations because of their low cost and convenience compared to pursuing a do-it-yourself strategy. Attempting to design an on-site data center with even a minimum level of fault tolerance is financially prohibitive for typical small organizations. Progent is ready to show you how to get all the advantages of non-stop data centers by offering a full array of consulting and maintenance services. To find out more, visit Fault Tolerant Internet Data Centers Expertise.

Failsafe Inter-office Networking
Progentís interoffice connection professionals can help organizations achieve fault tolerant branch office connectivity solutions via fully redundant system architectures featuring automatic failover. Progentís Cisco-premier CCIE network engineers can plan and deploy high-availability Inter-office connections based on fault tolerant EIGRP routers or zero-downtime OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how redundant connectivity and transparent fail-over offers affordable non-stop interoffice connectivity. For more information, go to Non-stop Interoffice Networking.

Fault Tolerant Internet Connectivity
Progent's Cisco-authorized network engineers can show you how to create an affordable, fault tolerant Internet configuration architecture that can achieve non-stop Internet access through a wide range of high availability Internet access technologies including high availability BGP, transparent fail-over, and multiple Internet Service Providers. Progent can provide Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert consultants to help you utilize the most up-to-date techniques for high availability Internet connectivity to build an affordable, completely redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other capabilities to create non-stop Internet connections. To read more, visit Non-stop Internet Connectivity Solutions.

Backup and Restore Technology Consulting
Progent can provide affordable remote access to consultants with expertise in a wide range of products and technologies that deliver solutions for protecting Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux physical and virtual servers and desktops as well as notebooks and handhelds. Progent offers help for leading backup platforms such as Acronis Backup and Recovery, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist, HP Data Protector, Double-Take, MozyPro, Retrospect, Apple Time Machine, VMware Data Recovery, and Solaris FLARs. Progent's consultants can help you to implement, enhance, or maintain backup systems for a range of environments such as on-premises, remote, cloud-based, or a mix. To read more, go to Backup and Recovery Technology Consulting.

Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Backup and Restore Consulting
Progent's certified System Center Data Protection Manager consultants can help your company to develop a practical disaster recovery plan, implement an affordable fault-tolerante network infrastructure, install a SCDPM-based backup and recovery system, comprehensively validate your DPM system, train your IT staff or regular service providers how to manage SCDPM, or provide complete IT outsourcing services including off-site housing of virtual or physical SCDPM machines in Progent's secure data center facility. To learn more, visit System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Consulting.

Barracuda Backup Local, Offsite and Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is a low-cost, 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 comparable features but which utilizes your own storage hardware. Barracuda Backup protects critical business 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 AWS, or to any site with a Barracuda Backup appliance. Progent is a Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consulting experts offer a wide range of consulting services to assist you to plan, configure, operate and repair a backup and disaster recovery solution built on Barracuda technology. For additional information, see Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting.

Altaro VM Backup Solutions for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup software provides small and mid-size organizations a dependable and affordable platform for backing up and recovering Hyper-V and VMware-based virtual machines (VMs). Altaro VM Backup can be used for on-premises, remote, distributed, and cloud environments and also enables cost-effective backup to Azure Block Blob storage. Headline capabilities include state-of-the-art inline deduplication to reduce backup storage needs, Continuous Data Protection with backup intervals as low as five minutes for reducing your exposure to data loss, military-grade encryption, granular recovery options for individual files and emails, extensive support for Windows Server CSV and for VMware vCenter for managing large-scale deployments, and support for Microsoft VSS technology to back up live VMs without downtime. Progent is an Altaro partner and offers a wide range of services to assist you to design, install, optimize and troubleshoot a backup and disaster recovery solution based on Altaro VM Backup software. To read more, visit Altaro VM Backup Consulting.

Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Data Backup/Restore
Double-Take Software publishes a selection of products intended to provide small and midsize businesses a range of cost-effective solutions for replicating and recovering business-critical applications such as Exchange Server, SQL Server, Blackberry, and Microsoft Office SharePoint. Progentís business continuity planning consultants have extensive backgrounds incorporating Double-Take Software technology into small business IT networks to achieve a high state of fault tolerance and business continuity readiness at an affordable cost. To learn more, go to Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Backup.

CRISC-Premier IT Risk Management
The CRISC program was established by ISACA in 2010 to verify a consultant's ability to plan, deploy, and maintain information system controls to reduce network risk. Progent can provide the expertise of a CRISC-certified consultant to help you to create and execute a workplace continuity or disaster recovery strategy based on industry best practices promoted by CRISC and crafted to align with your organization's risk appetite, business goals, and IT budget. To find out more, go to CRISC-Certified IT risk control specialists.

Why Pick Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Since Progent is a Microsoft Certified Partner and offers professional application consulting for a wide variety of business software programs, Progent can assist customers to find efficient information technology solutions that optimize the productivity of your IT network. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent can provide the support of premier engineers and specialists with expertise in architecting, configuring and managing networking solutions based on Cisco products. The broad scope of Progent's technical know-how and Progent's familiarity with the needs of small companies make Progent the perfect resource for building and running a cost-effective, dependable information system.

How You Can Contact Progent's Consultants for Business Continuity Solutions Support
To get in touch with Progent about engineering assistance for disaster recovery solutions, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.

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