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?
- Does the recovery documentation include the proper order in which network components should be restored?
- 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:
High Availability Technologies Supported by Progent
- The first activity in the Handover phase is to confirm the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in the written manual and the distribution of the documentation to the client's staff. Staff members whose roles are identified as critical for disaster response and recovery are provided training to ensure that they understand what they are expected to do and know how to do it.
- The second activity is testing and verification of technical solutions established for recovery operations.
- The third activity is an all-hands testing and verification of documented organization recovery procedures.
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified consulting experts can help your business to implement an affordable, high-availability environment that addresses critical issues covering a broad array of networking solutions and processes including:
CRISC-Premier Network Risk Control
The CRISC certification program was initiated by ISACA to verify a consultant's skills to plan, implement, and support IS control mechanisms to reduce network risk. Progent offers the expertise of a CRISC-certified consultant to help you to develop and carry out a business continuity or disaster recovery strategy based on industry best practices promoted by CRISC and crafted to match your organization's risk tolerance, business goals, and budgetary guidelines. To find out more, visit CRISC-Certified IT risk management experts.
Microsoft Windows Server 2019 Fault-tolerant Failover Clustering
Microsoft Windows Server 2019 incorporated important improvements in scale, performance, management, cybersecurity, application compatibility, Linux co-existence, container technology, and hybrid integration of on-premises and cloud assets. Top enhancements of Windows Server 2019 include Windows Admin Center for unifying the management and monitoring of hybrid local/cloud-hosted resources, System Insights for utilizing modern predictive intelligence to manage on-premises networks, Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection Exploit Guard for host-intrusion defense, container networking with Kubernetes, Cluster Sets for creating and administering large non-stop scale-out clusters, and Storage Migration Service for simplifying the upgrade process from outdated versions of Windows Server. For more information, see Microsoft Server 2019 High Availability Failover Clustering Expertise.
Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery/business continuity experts can assist you to plan and deploy a disaster recovery system based on Microsoft's most advanced Failover Clustering tools including Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade for non-intrusive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for zero-data-loss Recovery Point Objective (RPO), Storage Spaces Direct for high-performance storage clusters using industry-standard equipment, VM Load Balancing for improving the performance and fault-tolerance of Failover Clusters while reducing capital investment and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for easy, affordable deployment of a failover cluster quorum arbitration point. To read more, go to Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery Consulting.
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 consistent workflow for restoring services rapidly after a breakdown. SRM provides centrally controlled and automated disaster recovery, application mobility, plus transparent site relocation, failback and re-protect. SRM also supports non-intrusive testing for site recovery, updates and fixes and can produce reports to verify complete service recovery, validate SLAs and demonstrate disaster recovery compliance. Progent can provide the support of a VCDX certified VMware SRM consultant to assist your organization to design, deploy, test and manage a DR system powered by VMware Site Recovery Manager.
NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Platform
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery software suite that uses array-based storage clustering with replication to provide fast, zero data loss disaster recovery between sites that are up to 300km away from one another. Progent can provide online or on-premises access to a certified NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can help your business to plan, configure, administer, 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 aligns with your functional needs and budget. Progent can make sure you adhere to leading practices for configuring your MetroCluster environment by delivering guidance with tasks like assigning shelf IDs, arranging plexes layout, provisioning FlexVol volumes, setting up NetApp Snapshot, installing Cisco and Brocade switches, designing a tiebreaker mechanism, designing a configuration replication network between your peered clusters, and testing your DR solution to prove compliance with information assurance standards and regulatory mandates.
High Availability Load Balancing
Progent offers high availability load balancing support covering network load balancing, load balanced applications, LAN/WAN infrastructure routing, and content dispatching products such as Cisco Content Engine. Non-stop load balancing products for which Progent offers consulting expertise include Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and 2008 Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Access Suite and Access Gateway, Cisco Content Services Switch, Cisco Content Distribution Manager and ACNS, and F5 Networks 3-DNS. For details, see Non-stop Load Balancing.
Fault Tolerant Data Centers
Progent's Data Center consultants can help you identify zero-downtime data centers that match the specific requirements of your business. High availability colocation sites are especially appealing to small and mid-size companies due to of their low cost and simplified logistics in comparison 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 help you reap all the benefits of 24x7 Internet data centers by providing a full array of engineering and support services. To read more, visit Fault Tolerant Data Centers Expertise.
Failsafe Inter-office Connectivity
Progent's branch office connection professionals can help organizations create zero-downtime interoffice connections through redundant system architectures featuring automatic failover. Progent's Cisco-certified CCIE engineers can design and deploy ultra-reliable Inter-office connections supported by fault tolerant EIGRP network routers or zero-downtime OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how redundant connections and transparent fail-over offers affordable non-stop interoffice connectivity. For more information, see Fault Tolerant Interoffice Networking.
High Availability Internet Connectivity
Progent's Cisco-certified IT engineers can help you build an economical, high availability Internet configuration architecture that can deliver 24x7 Internet access via a broad array of high availability Internet network solutions including fault tolerant BGP, transparent fail-over, and redundant Internet Service Providers. Progent can provide Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert consultants to help you utilize the latest techniques for high availability Internet access to build a cost-effective, fully redundant Internet interface with automatic failover and other features to deliver non-stop Internet availability. For more information, see 24x7 Internet Connectivity Architecture.
Backup and Restore Solutions Consultants
Progent offers economical remote access to IT engineers with expertise in a wide range of utilities and technologies that provide solutions for protecting Windows, Mac, and Linux/UNIX servers and workstations plus laptops and handhelds. Progent offers consulting support for leading data protection platforms such as Acronis Backup and Recovery, Backup Exec, BackupAssist Software, CrashPlan PRO, Double-Take, Mozy, Retrospect for Macintosh, Time Machine, VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP), and Oracle Solaris FLARs. Progent can help your company to deploy, enhance, or troubleshoot data backup solutions for a range of environments including on-premises, edge to datacenter, cloud, or hybrid. To learn more, see Backup and Recovery Solutions Consulting Services.
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Backup and Restore Consultants
Progent's expert Microsoft SCDPM support professionals can help you to create a practical workplace recovery plan, implement an affordable high-availability IT infrastructure, install a SCDPM-based backup and restore solution, thoroughly test your system, educate your administrative staff or regular consultants how to manage System Center Data Protection Manager, or provide extensive IT outsourcing services such as off-site hosting of Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager machines in Progent's secure data center. For details, visit System Center Data Protection Manager Consulting Services.
Barracuda Backup Multi-site and Cloud Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is a low-cost, subscription-based backup and disaster recovery service for small and medium-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup deployment can include a custom-designed physical appliance manufactured by Barracuda or a software-based appliance with comparable features but which uses your existing storage hardware. Barracuda Backup safeguards vital business data generated on-premises, at one or multiple remote locations, or in the cloud. For disaster protection, you can replicate data to the Barracuda Cloud, to Amazon Web Services (AWS), or to any site with a physical or virtual Barracuda appliance. Progent is a certified Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consulting experts offer a wide range of consulting services to assist you to design, integrate, operate and repair a backup and disaster recovery system based on Barracuda Backup. For additional information, visit Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting and management.
ProSight DPS Altaro VM Backup Software for Backup and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup provides small organizations a reliable and affordable platform for backing up and recovering Hyper-V and VMware-powered VMs. Altaro VM Backup can be deployed in on-premises, remote, multi-site, and cloud architectures and also supports low-cost cloud backup to Azure storage. Altaro VM Backup supports advanced capabilities such as Immutable Cloud Storage for enhanced recoverability from ransomware. Progent is a Hornetsecurity Altaro partner and can provide a broad range of remote or on-premises services to assist you to plan, deploy, manage and troubleshoot a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery system powered by Altaro VM Backup. With ProSight Data Protection Services Altaro VM Backup, Progent offers a fully managed backup/restore service based on Altaro VM Backup technology. To learn more, visit Altaro VM Backup consulting.
ProSight Data Protection Services 365 Total Backup Services for Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 provides simple archiving but does not have native support for vital data protection capabilities such as Exchange Online backups or long-term point-in-time recovery for OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online. Hornetsecurity's 365 Total Backup provides a full-featured platform for automatic backup and rapid restoration of all your company's M365 mail, Microsoft Teams Chats, SharePoint sites, OneDrive files, and content on Windows desktops and laptops. Progent is an authorized Hornetsecurity/Altaro partner and offers ProSight Data Protection Services 365 Total Backup to deliver end-to-end managed services for Hornetsecurity's 365 Total Backup suite. ProSight Data Protection Services 365 Total Backup provides a low-cost backup-as-a-service alternative that defends M365 components against data loss caused by human or system error, malicious deletion, and cyber attacks such as ransomware. For details, see ProSight DPS 365 Total Backup services for Microsoft 365.
Fully Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services ECHO
ProSight Data Protection Services ECHO from Progent offer small and medium-sized organizations an affordable and fully managed solution for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). For a fixed monthly price, ProSight DPS ECHO automates your backup processes and allow rapid recovery of vital files, apps and VMs that have become lost or damaged due to component breakdowns, software bugs, disasters, human mistakes, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services ECHO can help you back up, recover and restore files, folders, apps, system images, plus Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Critical data can be backed up on the cloud, to a local storage device, or to both. Progent's BDR consultants can deliver advanced expertise to configure ProSight DPS ECHO to to comply with government and industry regulatory requirements like HIPAA, FIRPA, and PCI and, whenever necessary, can assist you to recover your business-critical data. Find out more about ProSight Data Protection Services ECHO managed cloud backup and recovery.
ProSight Data Protection Services 360 Backup Services
Progent's data protection experts can assist you to design, deploy and debug a backup solution based on MSP360 software. MSP360 offers file or image-based backup/recovery for virtual machines and physical machines, supports all popular public clouds, and permits you to build a backup solution with a low Recovery Time Objective and a defined RPO. With ProSight DPS 360 Backup, Progent can provide comprehensive monitoring and remote management of your backup system to prevent data loss resulting from user mistakes, computer errors, malicious users, and external attacks like ransomware. For details, go to ProSight Data Protection Services 360 Backup solutions.
Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Backup
Double-Take offers a selection of tools intended to provide small and midsize companies a variety of cost-effective alternatives for backing up and restoring vital applications including Exchange, SQL, RIM Blackberry, and SharePoint. Progent's disaster recovery planning experts have in-depth experience integrating Double-Take technology into small business information systems to create an advanced level of availability and business continuity capability at a budget-friendly cost. To learn more, go to Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Backup.
Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Because Progent is a Microsoft Partner and offers specialized application consulting for a wide range of small business software programs, Progent can help clients to find efficient information technology solutions that optimize the business value of your network. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent offers the support of certified engineers and specialists with expertise in designing, installing and maintaining networking solutions built on Cisco products. The broad scope of Progent's IT know-how and Progent's sensitivity to the requirements of small and midsize companies make Progent the perfect partner for building and running a cost-effective, dependable information system.
How to Access Progent's Engineers for Business Continuity Solutions Help
To ask Progent about professional support for workplace recovery solutions, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.