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:
Additional 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-certified support professionals can assist you to create a cost-effective, fault-tolerant network that addresses major challenges covering a broad array of networking technologies and processes including:
Fully Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent provide small and mid-sized organizations a low cost end-to-end solution for secure backup/disaster recovery (BDR). Available at a low monthly rate, ProSight Data Protection Services automates your backup processes and allows fast restoration of vital files, apps and VMs that have become lost or damaged as a result of hardware failures, software glitches, disasters, human error, or malware attacks like ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you back up, recover and restore files, folders, applications, system images/, as well as Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images/. Critical data can be protected on the cloud, to a local device, or mirrored to both. Progent's cloud backup specialists can provide advanced support to configure ProSight Data Protection Services to be compliant with regulatory requirements like HIPPA, FINRA, and PCI and, whenever needed, can assist you to restore your critical information. Find out more about ProSight DPS Managed Backup and Recovery.
Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery/business continuity consultants can assist you to plan and deploy a DR system based on Microsoft's latest Failover Clustering tools such as 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 network-attached storage using industry-standard equipment, Virtual Machine Load Balancing for enhancing the performance and resilience of Failover Clusters while minimizing TCO and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for fast, affordable creation of a failover cluster quorum witness. For details, go to Microsoft Server 2016 Disaster Recovery Expertise.
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Failover Clusters
Windows Server 2008 R2 brought world-class availability and recoverability to Microsoft's failover clustering solution. Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 builds on this foundation and delivers significant new and enhanced features that offer more expandability, better storage uptime for server applications, easier management, quicker automatic failover, and more options for designing failover clusters. For details, go to Windows Server 2012 R2 Failover Clustering Consulting and Support.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is an extension to VMware vCenter that lets you specify, automate and test a consistent process for restoring services quickly after a breakdown. SRM supports centrally controlled and automated disaster recovery, application mobility, plus non-intrusive site migration, failback and re-protect. SRM also supports transparent testing for disaster recovery, updates and patches and can produce audit reports to verify complete service restoration, validate SLAs and prove DR compliance. Progent offers the skills of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consulting expert to help you to design, configure, test and administer a disaster recovery system based on VMware Site Recovery Manager.
NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Technology
NetApp MetroCluster is a high-availability and disaster recovery platform that combines failover storage clustering with continual replication to deliver rapid, zero data loss disaster recovery (DR) between sites located up to 300km away from one another. Progent offers online or on-premises access to a certified NetApp MetroCluster expert who can assist your business to design, configure, manage, upgrade, test and repair a disaster recovery solution built around NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can assist you to choose a topology for your MetroCluster deployment that meets your functional requirements and budget. Progent can ensure you adhere to leading practices for installing your MetroCluster environment by delivering guidance with tasks like assigning disk pools and shelf IDs, arranging aggregate layout, provisioning FlexVol volumes, setting up NetApp Snapshot, provisioning Cisco and Brocade switches, designing a tiebreaker mechanism, setting up a TCP/IP configuration replication network, and verifying your DR solution to prove adherence with information assurance standards and regulatory mandates.
High Availability Load Balancing
Progent offers high availability load balancing consulting that addresses network load balancing, load balanced programs, network backbone routing, and content delivery products such as Cisco Content Engine. Non-stop load balancing solutions for which Progent offers consulting services include Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and 2008 Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Metaframe and Access Gateway, Cisco CSS, Cisco Content Distribution Manager and ACNS, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. For more information, visit High Availability Load Balancing.
Fault Tolerant Colocation
Progent's Data Center consultants can show you how to find high availability data centers that meet the particular requirements of your business. Fault tolerant Internet Data Centers are particularly attractive to small and mid-size organizations due to of their affordability and simplified logistics compared to taking a do-it-yourself approach. Attempting to design an on-site data center that offers even a minimum degree of fault tolerance is financially prohibitive for typical small companies. Progent can help you reap all the advantages of non-stop colocation centers by providing a complete array of consulting and support services. For details, see High-Availability Data Centers Expertise.
Non-stop Interoffice Networking
Progentís interoffice network infrastructure engineers can help businesses create zero-downtime multi-site connectivity solutions through redundant system architectures with transparent failover. Progentís Cisco-qualified CCIE network engineers can plan and deploy fault-tolerant Inter-office connections based on fault tolerant EIGRP routers or fault tolerant OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can show you how multi-path connections and automatic fail-over offers affordable non-stop interoffice networking. For details, see Fault Tolerant Inter-office Networking.
24x7 Internet Connectivity
Progent's Cisco-authorized IT professionals can help you create an affordable, high availability Internet connection solution that can deliver non-stop Internet connectivity via a wide array of fault tolerant Internet network technologies including fault tolerant BGP, automatic fail-over, and redundant Internet Service Providers. Progent can provide CCIE engineers to help you apply the most up-to-date technology for 24x7 Internet access to implement an economical, completely redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other features to deliver non-stop Internet availability. For details, visit Non-stop Internet Connectivity Solutions.
Backup and Recovery Technology Consulting Experts
Progent can provide affordable remote support from IT engineers with expertise in a wide range of utilities and technologies that provide solutions for protecting Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux/UNIX physical and virtual servers and desktops plus notebooks and smartphones. Progent offers expertise for all major backup products including Acronis Backup and Recovery, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist, HP Data Protector, Double-Take Software, MozyPro, Retrospect, Apple Time Machine, vSphere Data Protection, and FLARs. Progent can help your company to install, enhance, or maintain backup systems for a variety of topologies such as local, edge to datacenter, cloud, or hybrid. For more information, go to Backup and Recovery Technology Expertise.
System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Data Recovery Consulting Services
Progent's certified System Center Data Protection Manager consultants can help you to create a practical disaster recovery strategy, implement an affordable fault-tolerante network infrastructure, install a Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager-based backup and restore system, comprehensively test your DPM system, train your IT staff or local service providers how to maintain Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager, or provide extensive information technology support outsourcing including off-site housing of System Center Data Protection Manager machines in Progent's data center facility. To learn more, visit System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Expertise.
Barracuda Backup On-premises and Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is a low-cost, subscription backup/restore platform for small and mid-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup deployment can incorporate a purpose-built hardware appliance manufactured by Barracuda or a software-based appliance with comparable features but which uses your own storage hardware. Barracuda Backup safeguards critical business data produced on-premises, 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 physical or virtual Barracuda appliance. Progent is a Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consultants can provide a broad range of consulting services to assist you to plan, integrate, operate and troubleshoot a BDR solution based on Barracuda technology. For details, go to Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting.
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 restoring Hyper-V and VMware-powered VMs. Altaro VM Backup can be used for on-premises, remote, distributed, and cloud environments and also supports cost-effective backup to Azure Block Blob storage. Headline features include industry-leading Augmented Inline Deduplication to reduce backup storage requirements, Continuous Data Protection (CDP) with backup spacing as low as five minutes for reducing your Recovery Point Objective, military-grade encryption, granular restore capability for individual files and emails, support for Windows Server CSV and VMware vCenter for handling large-scale deployments, and support for Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service to back up online virtual machines with zero downtime. Progent is an Altaro partner and can provide a broad range of consulting services to help you to plan, install, optimize and troubleshoot a backup and disaster recovery solution based on Altaro VM Backup. For details, visit Altaro VM Backup Certified Consultants.
Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Backup
Double-Take Software publishes a selection of tools intended to provide small businesses a variety of affordable solutions for replicating and recovering business-critical workloads including Microsoft Exchange Server, SQL, RIM Blackberry, and Microsoft Office SharePoint. Progentís business continuity planning consultants have in-depth backgrounds incorporating Double-Take Software products into small business IT systems to achieve a high level of fault tolerance and disaster recovery capability at a budget-friendly price. To learn more, go to Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Data Backup.
CRISC-certified Network Risk Control
The CRISC certification program was initiated by ISACA to verify a consultant's ability to plan, implement, and support information system controls to reduce risk. Progent offers the services of a CRISC-certified consultant to assist your company to create and carry out a business continuity or disaster recovery strategy based on leading practices identified by CRISC and geared to align with your organization's risk appetite, business objectives, and budgetary guidelines. For details, go to CRISC-certified network risk control specialists.
Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Because Progent is a Microsoft Partner and offers professional application support for a wide range of small business software programs, Progent can help clients to find efficient information technology solutions that optimize the productivity of your IT network. As a Registered Partner with Cisco, Progent offers the services of qualified consultants and specialists with experience in architecting, implementing and managing infrastructure environments built on Cisco products. The depth and breadth of Progent's IT experience and Progent's appreciation for the requirements of small and midsize companies make Progent a great partner for creating and running a cost-effective, dependable information system.
How You Can Get in Touch with Progent's Engineers for Disaster Recovery Planning Help
In order to get in touch with Progent about consulting expertise for workplace recovery solutions, call 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.