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.
Additional Non-stop Solutions Provided by Progent's Consultants
Progent's certified consulting experts can help you to design an efficient, high-availability network that resolves key issues encompassing a broad range of networking solutions and operations including:

Fully Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent provide small and medium-sized organizations an affordable and fully managed service for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). For a fixed monthly cost, ProSight DPS automates your backup activities and enables fast recovery of vital data, applications and virtual machines that have become unavailable or corrupted as a result of hardware failures, software bugs, natural disasters, human error, or malware attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, apps, system images, plus Hyper-V and VMware images/. Important data can be protected on the cloud, to an on-promises device, or mirrored to both. Progent's backup and recovery specialists can deliver advanced support to set up ProSight Data Protection Services to be compliant with government and industry regulatory standards such as HIPPA, FINRA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, whenever necessary, can assist you to restore your critical information. Read more about ProSight DPS Managed Backup and Recovery.

Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery experts can assist you to design a disaster recovery system built around Microsoft's latest Failover Clustering technologies 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 enterprise-class storage clusters using commodity equipment, Virtual Machine Load Balancing for improving the speed and fault-tolerance of Failover Clusters while minimizing capital investment and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for easy, affordable creation of a stretch cluster quorum arbitration point. For more information, see Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery Consulting.

Microsoft Server 2012 Failover Clustering
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 brought world-class fault tolerance and recoverability to Microsoft's failover clustering solution. Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 builds on this foundation and delivers important enhancements offering increased expandability, non-stop storage availability for server applications, simpler management, quicker automatic failover, and additional flexibility for designing failover clusters. To find out more, visit Windows Server 2012 R2 Failover Clustering Integration.

VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager is a component of VMware vCenter that allows you to define, automate and verify a consistent workflow for restoring applications and services rapidly following a breakdown. SRM provides centrally managed and automated recovery, application mobility, plus non-disruptive site relocation, failback and re-protect. SRM also enables transparent testing for site recovery, updates and fixes and can generate reports to confirm complete service recovery, validate Service Level Agreements and prove disaster recovery compliance. Progent can provide the support of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consulting expert to help you to design, deploy, test and manage a DR system powered by VMware Site Recovery Manager.

NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Technology
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery software suite that uses failover storage clustering along with synchronous replication to deliver fast, zero RPO disaster recovery between datacenters located as far as 185 miles (300km) apart from each other. Progent offers access to a certified NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can help you to plan, deploy, manage, upgrade, test and troubleshoot a disaster recovery solution based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can assist you to select an architecture for your MetroCluster environment that meets your functional requirements and budget. Progent can make sure you follow leading practices for configuring your MetroCluster solution by delivering help with procedures such as assigning shelf IDs, determining plexes layout, provisioning volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, provisioning switches, designing a tiebreaker, designing a configuration replication network between your peered clusters, and verifying your MetroCluster disaster recovery system to prove adherence with industry standards and regulatory requirements.

Network Load Balancing
Progent offers fault tolerant load balancing support that addresses system load balancing, load balanced programs, LAN/WAN infrastructure routing, and content dispatching products including Cisco Content Engine. Fault tolerant load balancing products for which Progent can provide consulting services include Microsoft Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Metaframe and Presentation Server, Cisco Content Services Switch, Cisco Content Engine and LocalDirector 400 series, and F5 Networks 3-DNS. For more information, visit Non-stop Load Balancing.

High-Availability Internet Data Centers
Progent's Data Center engineers can help you find fault-tolerant data centers that meet the specific requirements of your business. High availability collocation sites are particularly appealing to small and mid-size companies due to of their low cost and simplified logistics compared to taking a do-it-yourself approach. Trying to create an on-site data center with even a basic degree of fault tolerance is too costly for most small organizations. Progent is ready to show you how to reap all the benefits of non-stop colocation facilities by offering a full array of engineering and maintenance services. For details, see Fault Tolerant Data Centers Consulting.

24x7 Inter-office Networking
Progentís inter-site connection engineers can help organizations create non-stop multi-site connectivity solutions through redundant networks featuring transparent failover. Progentís Cisco-certified CCIE engineers can design and deploy fault-tolerant Inter-office networks based on fault tolerant EIGRP routers or zero-downtime OSPF configurations of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how redundant connections and automatic fail-over offers affordable 24x7 interoffice connectivity. For more information, see High-Availability Inter-office Networking.

24x7 Internet Connectivity
Progent's Cisco-authorized network engineers can help you create an affordable, high availability Internet configuration solution that can achieve non-stop Internet connectivity via a broad array of high availability Internet network solutions including fault tolerant BGP, transparent fail-over, and multiple ISPs. Progent offers Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert professionals to help you utilize the most up-to-date technology for 24x7 Internet connectivity to create an affordable, completely redundant Internet interface with automatic failover and other capabilities to deliver zero-downtime Internet connections. To learn more, go to Non-stop Internet Connectivity Solutions.

Backup and Recovery Solutions Consultants
Progent offers economical remote support from engineers skilled in a wide array of utilities and services that deliver solutions for protecting Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux/UNIX physical and virtual servers and desktops as well as laptops and smartphones. Progent can provide expertise for leading data protection platforms such as Acronis Backup and Recovery, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist, CrashPlan, Double-Take Backup, Mozy, Retrospect for Macintosh, Time Machine, VMware Data Recovery, and FLARs. Progent can help your company to implement, enhance, or maintain data backup solutions for a range of environments including on-premises, remote, cloud-based, or hybrid. To learn more, see Backup and Restore Solutions Consulting and Support Services.

System Center Data Protection Manager Backup and Restore Consultants
Progent's expert Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager engineers can assist your company to develop an effective disaster recovery plan, design an affordable fault-tolerante IT infrastructure, install a Microsoft SCDPM-powered backup and recovery system, comprehensively validate your system, train your IT staff or regular consultants how to manage Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager, or provide extensive IT support outsourcing including remote hosting of virtual or physical SCDPM machines in Progent's world-class data center facility. For details, visit System Center Data Protection Manager Consulting Services.

Barracuda Backup On-premises and Cloud Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is an affordable, subscription backup and disaster recovery platform for small and medium-size businesses. A Barracuda Backup deployment can incorporate a custom-designed physical appliance built by Barracuda or a virtual appliance with comparable features but which uses your existing storage infrastructure. Barracuda Backup protects vital business data generated on-premises, at one or multiple remote sites, or in the cloud. For disaster protection, you can replicate data to the Barracuda Cloud, to Amazon AWS, or to any location with a physical or virtual Barracuda appliance. Progent is a certified Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consultants offer a broad range of consulting services to assist you to design, integrate, manage and repair a backup and disaster recovery solution based on Barracuda Backup. For more information, visit Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consultants.

Altaro VM Backup Solutions for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup offers small organizations a dependable and affordable solution for backing up and recovering Hyper-V and VMware-based VMs. Altaro VM Backup can be deployed in on-premises, remote, distributed, and cloud-hosted architectures and also enables cost-effective backup to Microsoft Azure storage. Top capabilities include state-of-the-art Augmented Inline Deduplication to cut backup storage needs, Continuous Data Protection (CDP) with backup intervals as short as five minutes for reducing your Recovery Point Objective, military-grade encryption, item-level restore options for individual files and emails, support for Windows Server CSV and VMware vCenter for handling larger environments, and support for Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service to back up online VMs without downtime. Progent is a certified Altaro partner and offers a broad array of consulting services to assist you to plan, install, manage and troubleshoot a backup and disaster recovery system based on Altaro VM Backup software. To read more, visit Altaro VM Backup Consulting.

Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Data Backup
Double-Take Software publishes a selection of tools intended to deliver small and midsize companies a variety of cost-effective solutions for replicating and recovering business-critical applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server, SQL, RIM Blackberry, and SharePoint. Progentís disaster recovery planning consultants have extensive backgrounds integrating Double-Take products into small company information systems to create an advanced state of availability and disaster recovery readiness at a budget-friendly price. To learn more, visit Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Backup.

CRISC-Premier Network Risk Control
The CRISC program was established by ISACA in 2010 to validate a consultant's ability to design, implement, and maintain IS controls to reduce risk. Progent can provide the services of a CRISC-certified consultant to help your company to create and execute a workplace continuity or disaster recovery strategy based on industry best practices promoted by CRISC and geared to align with your organization's risk tolerance, business objectives, and IT budget. For more information, visit CRISC-Certified network risk management specialists.

Why Pick Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Because Progent is a Microsoft Certified Partner and offers high-level application expertise for a wide variety of business applications, Progent can help customers to find comprehensive information technology solutions that optimize the productivity of your IT network. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent offers the support of premier engineers and specialists with expertise in architecting, configuring and managing infrastructure environments based on Cisco technology. The breadth of Progent's IT know-how and Progent's familiarity with the needs of small companies make Progent a great resource for creating and running an affordable, high-availability network.

How to Get in Touch with Progent's Experts for Business Continuity Solutions Support
In order to ask Progent about technical support for workplace recovery planning, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.

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