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:
Fault Tolerant 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 engineers can assist your business to build an affordable, non-stop network that addresses key challenges covering a broad array of infrastructure technologies and operations including:
CRISC-Certified Network Risk Control
The Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) certification program was initiated by ISACA in 2010 to verify a consultant's ability to design, deploy, and support information system controls to reduce risk. Progent offers the expertise of a CRISC-certified engineer to help your company to create and execute a business continuity or disaster recovery plan that follows leading practices identified by CRISC and crafted to align with your organization's risk appetite, business goals, and IT budget. For more information, see CRISC-Certified network risk mitigation experts.
Microsoft Server 2019 High Availability Failover Clustering
Microsoft Windows Server 2019 incorporated important enhancements in capacity, throughput, manageability, security and compliance, app compatibility, Linux support, container networking, and hybrid combinations of local and cloud-hosted resources. Top enhancements of Windows Server 2019 include Windows Admin Center for centralizing the management of hybrid on-premises/cloud resources, System Insights for taking advantage of advance predictive intelligence to control on-premises environments, Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection Exploit Guard for host-intrusion defense, container orchestration using Kubernetes, Cluster Sets technology for creating and managing large high-availability scale-out clusters, and Storage Migration Service for simplifying the migration from outdated releases of Windows Server. For more information, visit Microsoft Windows Server 2019 High Availability Failover Clustering Support.
Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery/business continuity consultants can assist your organization to plan and deploy a disaster recovery solution based on Microsoft's latest Failover Clustering tools including Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade for non-disruptive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for crash-consistent Recovery Point Objective (RPO), Storage Spaces Direct for enterprise-class storage clusters using industry-standard hardware, Virtual Machine Load Balancing for enhancing the performance and fault-tolerance of Failover Clusters while minimizing 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 and Business Continuity Expertise.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is a component of VMware vCenter that allows you to define, automate and verify a repeatable runbook for recovering applications and services quickly following a breakdown. SRM provides centrally controlled and automated recovery, application mobility, plus non-disruptive site migration, failback and re-protect. Site Recovery Manager also enables non-intrusive testing for disaster recovery, upgrades and fixes and can produce audit reports to verify complete service restoration, validate Service Level Agreements and prove DR compliance. Progent can provide the skills of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consultant to help you to design, configure, test and manage a DR solution powered by VMware Site Recovery Manager.
NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Technology
NetApp MetroCluster is a high-availability and disaster recovery platform that uses failover storage clustering with synchronous replication to provide rapid, zero RPO disaster recovery between datacenters located up to 185 miles (300km) apart. Progent can provide access to a certified NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can help your business to plan, deploy, administer, upgrade, test and repair a disaster recovery system based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can assist you to select an architecture for your MetroCluster deployment that aligns with your technical needs and budget. Progent can make sure you adhere to best practices for installing your MetroCluster solution by providing guidance with procedures such as assigning disk pools, arranging plexes layout, provisioning NetApp FlexVol volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, installing switches, designing a tiebreaker, setting up a TCP/IP configuration replication network, and testing your MetroCluster disaster recovery system to show compliance with information assurance standards and regulatory mandates.
Network Load Balancing
Progent provides 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 solutions for which Progent offers consulting services include Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Access Suite and Presentation Server, Cisco Content Services Switch, Cisco Content Engine and ACNS, and F5 Networks 3-DNS. To read more, go to Non-stop Load Balancing.
High-Availability Data Centers
Progent's Data Center consultants can help you find fault-tolerant data centers that match the particular requirements of your business. Fault tolerant off-site data centers are especially attractive to small and mid-size companies due to of their low cost and simplified logistics in comparison to pursuing a do-it-yourself approach. Attempting to design an in-house data center with even a basic degree of fault tolerance is too costly for typical small organizations. Progent is ready to show you how to get all the benefits of non-stop colocation centers by offering a complete array of engineering and maintenance services. To learn more, see Fault Tolerant Internet Data Centers Solutions.
Non-stop Inter-office Connectivity
Progentís interoffice connection engineers can help companies create fault tolerant branch office connections via fully redundant system architectures featuring automatic failover. Progentís Cisco-certified CCIE network engineers can plan and implement fault-tolerant Inter-office connections supported by non-stop EIGRP network routers or fault tolerant OSPF configurations of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how multi-path connectivity and automatic fail-over offers affordable non-stop interoffice networking. To learn more, visit Non-stop Inter-office Networking.
High Availability Internet Connections
Progent's Cisco-authorized IT engineers can help you build an affordable, fault tolerant Internet configuration solution that can achieve non-stop Internet access through a broad range of fault tolerant Internet network solutions including non-stop BGP, transparent fail-over, and redundant ISPs. Progent can provide Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert engineers to show you how to apply the latest techniques for fault tolerant Internet connectivity to implement an economical, completely redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other features to deliver fault tolerant Internet availability. To learn more, visit High Availability Internet Access Architecture.
Backup and Restore Solutions Consulting and Support Services
Progent offers economical online support from IT engineers skilled in a broad range of utilities and technologies that deliver solutions for backing up Windows, Mac, and Linux physical and virtual servers and workstations plus notebooks and handhelds. Progent offers consulting support for all major data protection products such as Acronis, Backup Exec, BackupAssist, HP Data Protector, Double-Take, Mozy, Retrospect, Time Machine, VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP), and Oracle Solaris FLARs. Progent can assist you to deploy, upgrade, or troubleshoot backup solutions for a variety of topologies such as on-premises, edge to datacenter, cloud, or a mix. For more information, see Backup and Recovery Solutions Consulting and Support Services.
System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Data Recovery Consulting Experts
Progent's certified System Center Data Protection Manager support professionals can assist your company to create an effective disaster recovery strategy, design a cost-effective high-availability IT infrastructure, install a SCDPM-based recovery solution, comprehensively validate your DPM system, train your administrative staff or local consultants how to maintain Microsoft SCDPM, or provide complete information technology outsourcing such as remote housing of Microsoft SCDPM machines in Progent's world-class data center. To find out more, go to Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Expertise.
Barracuda Backup Local, Offsite and Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is a low-cost, subscription backup/restore service for small and medium-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup solution can incorporate a custom-designed physical appliance built by Barracuda or a software-based appliance with comparable functionality but which uses your own storage hardware. Barracuda Backup safeguards vital company data produced locally, at one or more remote locations, or in the cloud. For disaster recovery, 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 broad range of consulting support services to assist you to design, integrate, operate and repair a BDR system based on Barracuda technology. For additional information, go to Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting.
ProSight Data Protection Services Altaro VM Backup Software 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, offsite, multi-site, and cloud-hosted architectures and also enables cost-effective cloud backup to Azure storage. Progent is a certified Altaro partner and can provide a broad range of online or on-premises consulting services to assist you to design, deploy, optimize and debug a modern backup and disaster recovery solution based on Altaro VM Backup. With ProSight Data Protection Services Altaro VM Backup, Progent delivers a managed backup/restore service powered by on Altaro VM Backup. For details, go to Altaro VM Backup consulting.
ProSight Data Protection Services Altaro O365 Total Backup Services
Microsoft 365 (previously named Office 365) provides simple archiving but does not include integrated support for vital data protection capabilities such as Exchange Online backups or long-term point-in-time data recovery for OneDrive or SharePoint. Altaro O365 Backup provides a full-featured platform for automatic backup and rapid recovery of all your company's O365 mail, Microsoft Teams Chats, SharePoint documents, and OneDrive for Business data. Progent is an Altaro partner and has designed ProSight Data Protection Services O365 Total Backup to provide comprehensive management services for Altaro's O365 data protection product. ProSight DPS O365 delivers a low-cost backup-as-a-service solution that defends O365 components against data loss or corruption resulting from human or system error, malevolent corruption, and cyber attacks like ransomware. To find out more, go to ProSight Data Protection Services Altaro O365 Backup solutions.
Fully Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services ECHO
ProSight Data Protection Services ECHO from Progent offer small and medium-sized businesses a low cost and fully managed service for secure backup/disaster recovery. For a low monthly cost, ProSight DPS ECHO automates and monitors your backup activities and enable rapid restoration of critical files, applications and VMs that have become lost or damaged as a result of hardware failures, software bugs, natural disasters, human error, or malware attacks like ransomware. ProSight DPS ECHO can help you back up, recover and restore files, folders, apps, system images, plus Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware images. Important data can be protected on the cloud, to an on-promises device, or to both. Progent's backup and recovery specialists can provide advanced support to configure ProSight Data Protection Services ECHO to to comply with regulatory requirements like HIPAA, FIRPA, and PCI and, whenever necessary, can assist you to recover your critical data. Read more about ProSight DPS ECHO managed backup and recovery.
ProSight Data Protection Services 360 Backup Solutions
Progent can assist you to create, deploy and troubleshoot a backup plan based on MSP360 software. MSP360 offers file/folder or image backup/restore for virtual machines and physical computers, works with all popular public clouds, and allows businesses to build a data protection solution with a minimum Recovery Time Objective and a defined Recovery Point Objective (RPO). With ProSight DPS 360 Backup, Progent can provide end-to-end monitoring and management of your backup system to protect against data loss caused by human mistakes, computer errors, malicious users, and external attacks like ransomware. For more information, go to ProSight DPS 360 Backup services.
Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup
Double-Take offers a family of tools intended to provide small and midsize companies a range of affordable alternatives for replicating and restoring vital workloads such as Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, Blackberry, and Microsoft SharePoint. Progentís disaster recovery planning consultants have extensive experience incorporating Double-Take Software technology into small business information networks to create a high state of fault tolerance and disaster recovery capability at an affordable cost. To find out more, visit Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Data Backup.
Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Since Progent is a Microsoft Certified Partner and provides specialized application consulting for a wide range of business software programs, Progent is able to help customers to arrive at comprehensive IT solutions that maximize the productivity of your network. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent can provide the expertise of certified engineers and specialists with experience in architecting, installing and managing infrastructure environments based on Cisco technology. The breadth of Progent's IT know-how and Progent's appreciation for the needs of small and midsize businesses make Progent the perfect resource for building and maintaining an affordable, dependable information system.
How You Can Get in Touch with Progent's Engineers for Business Continuity Planning Support
If you wish to get in touch with Progent about consulting assistance for disaster recovery planning, phone 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.