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 Zero-Downtime Solutions Supported 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 support professionals can assist your business to design a sensible, fault-tolerant information network that resolves critical problems encompassing a broad range of infrastructure technologies and processes such as:
Fully Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and medium-sized businesses an affordable and fully managed solution for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). For a fixed monthly rate, ProSight Data Protection Services automates your backup processes and allows rapid restoration of critical data, apps and VMs that have become lost or corrupted due to hardware failures, software bugs, natural disasters, human mistakes, or malware attacks like ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, applications, system images/, as well as Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images/. Critical data can be backed up on the cloud, to a local device, or to both. Progent's BDR consultants can deliver advanced expertise to configure ProSight DPS to to comply with government and industry regulatory requirements like HIPPA, FIRPA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, when necessary, can assist you to restore your business-critical data. Read more about ProSight DPS Managed Cloud Backup.
Microsoft Server 2016 Disaster Recovery
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery consultants can assist your organization to plan and deploy a DR system built around 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 enterprise-class network-attached storage using commodity equipment, Virtual Machine Load Balancing for improving the speed and resilience of Failover Clusters while minimizing capital investment and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for easy, affordable deployment of a failover cluster quorum arbitration point. For details, go to Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Expertise.
Windows Server 2012 Failover Clustering
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 introduced enterprise-class fault tolerance and recoverability to Microsoft's clustering platform. Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 adds to this technology and delivers significant improvements that offer increased scalability, better storage availability for server applications, simpler administration, quicker automatic failover, and additional options for architecting failover clusters. For more information, visit Windows Server 2012 R2 Failover Clustering Consulting and Support.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager is a component of VMware vCenter that allows you to specify, automate and test a consistent runbook for recovering services rapidly following a breakdown. SRM provides centrally controlled and automated disaster recovery, application mobility, and non-intrusive site migration, failback and site re-protect. SRM also allows non-disruptive testing for site recovery, updates and patches and can produce reports to verify complete service restoration, validate Service Level Agreements and demonstrate disaster recovery compliance. Progent offers the skills of a VCDX certified VMware SRM consultant to assist your organization to plan, deploy, test and administer a disaster recovery solution powered by VMware SRM.
NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Software
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery platform that combines array-based storage clustering along with synchronous replication to deliver rapid, zero RPO disaster recovery (DR) between sites that are as far as 185 miles away from one another. Progent can provide the skills of a certified NetApp MetroCluster expert who can help you to plan, configure, manage, update, test and troubleshoot a disaster recovery system based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to choose a topology for your MetroCluster environment that aligns with your functional requirements and IT budget. Progent can ensure you follow leading practices for installing your MetroCluster solution by providing guidance with procedures like assigning disk pools and shelf IDs, determining aggregate layout, provisioning volumes, setting up NetApp Snapshot, provisioning switches, designing a tiebreaker mechanism, setting up a configuration replication network between your storage clusters, and verifying your MetroCluster DR solution to prove adherence with industry standards and government mandates.
High Availability Load Balancing
Progent offers high availability load balancing consulting that addresses system load balancing, load balanced applications, network infrastructure routing, and content dispatching products such as F5 Networks 3DNS. High availability load balancing products for which Progent can provide consulting expertise include Microsoft Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Metaframe and Presentation Server, Cisco Content Services Switch, Cisco Content Distribution Manager and Cisco CDN Software, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. For details, go to Non-stop Load Balancing.
Non-stop Internet Data Centers
Progent's Data Center professionals can show you how to find zero-downtime data centers that match the particular requirements of your company. Fault tolerant co-location sites are particularly attractive to small and mid-size organizations because of their low cost and convenience compared to taking a do-it-yourself approach. Attempting to create an on-site data center that offers even a basic level of fault tolerance is financially prohibitive for typical small organizations. Progent can help you reap all the benefits of 24x7 Internet data centers by offering a complete array of engineering and maintenance services. For details, visit Non-stop Internet Data Centers Solutions.
24x7 Interoffice Connectivity
Progentís multi-site network infrastructure consultants can help businesses create fault tolerant branch office connectivity solutions through fully redundant system architectures featuring transparent failover. Progentís Cisco-certified CCIE engineers can plan and deploy ultra-reliable Inter-office networks supported by non-stop EIGRP network routers or zero-downtime OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how multi-path connections and transparent fail-over can provide affordable non-stop interoffice connectivity. For details, visit Non-stop Interoffice Networking.
24x7 Internet Connectivity
Progent's Cisco-authorized IT consultants can help you create an affordable, high availability Internet connection architecture that can deliver 24x7 Internet access via a wide range of high availability Internet network solutions including high availability BGP, transparent fail-over, and redundant ISPs. Progent offers Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert consultants to help you apply the latest technology for 24x7 Internet connections to implement an economical, completely redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other features to create zero-downtime Internet availability. For details, see 24x7 Internet Access Solutions.
Backup and Recovery Technology Consulting and Support Services
Progent can provide affordable remote support from engineers with expertise in a broad array of utilities and technologies that deliver solutions for protecting Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux physical and virtual servers and desktops plus notebooks and handhelds. Progent can provide consulting support for all major data protection platforms including Acronis Backup and Recovery, Backup Exec, BackupAssist, HP Data Protector, Double-Take, MozyPro, Retrospect for Macintosh, Time Machine, vSphere Data Protection, and Oracle Solaris FLARs. Progent can help you to deploy, enhance, or maintain data backup solutions for a variety of architectures such as on-premises, remote, cloud, or hybrid. To learn more, see Backup and Recovery Technology Expertise.
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Data Recovery Consulting
Progent's certified Microsoft SCDPM support professionals can assist you to create a practical workplace recovery plan, implement a cost-effective high-availability IT architecture, configure a SCDPM-based recovery system, comprehensively test your system, train your administrative personnel or local consultants how to manage Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager, or provide extensive IT outsourcing services such as off-site housing of Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager servers in Progent's secure data center facility. To find out more, go to System Center Data Protection Manager Consulting Services.
Barracuda Backup Local, Offsite and Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is a low-cost, subscription-based backup/restore service for small and medium-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup deployment can incorporate a purpose-built physical appliance manufactured by Barracuda or a software-based appliance with similar functionality but which utilizes your existing storage infrastructure. Barracuda Backup safeguards vital company data produced on-premises, at one or multiple remote locations, or in the cloud. For disaster preparedness, you can replicate data to the Barracuda Cloud, to Amazon Web Services (AWS), or to any location with a Barracuda Backup appliance. Progent is a certified Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consultants can provide a broad array of consulting support services to help you to plan, integrate, manage and troubleshoot a BDR solution built on Barracuda Backup. For additional information, see Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting and management.
Altaro VM Backup Solutions for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup software provides small and mid-size organizations a dependable and budget-friendly solution for backing up and recovering Hyper-V and VMware-powered virtual machines (VMs). Altaro VM Backup can be deployed in local, remote, distributed, and cloud-hosted architectures and also enables low-cost backup to Azure Block Blob storage. Headline features include industry-leading inline deduplication to reduce backup storage requirements, Continuous Data Protection (CDP) with backup intervals as short as five minutes for reducing your exposure to data loss, advanced encryption, item-level restore options for specific files and emails, support for Windows Server Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) and VMware vCenter for managing larger deployments, and the ability to leverage Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to back up online virtual machines with zero downtime. Progent is an Altaro partner and offers a broad range of services to help you to plan, deploy, manage and troubleshoot a backup/restore system powered by Altaro VM Backup software. To read more, visit Altaro VM Backup Certified Consultants.
Consulting for Double-Take Software for Backup
Double-Take Software publishes a family of products intended to provide small and midsize companies a variety of cost-effective solutions for replicating and restoring vital workloads including Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, RIM Blackberry, and Microsoft Office SharePoint. Progentís disaster recovery planning consultants have extensive experience incorporating Double-Take technology into small business information systems to achieve a high level of availability and business continuity readiness at a budget-friendly price. To learn more, visit Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup.
CRISC-qualified Network Risk Management
The CRISC program was initiated by ISACA to validate an IT professional's skills to plan, deploy, and maintain IS controls to mitigate risk. Progent offers the services of a CRISC-certified engineer to help you to create and carry out a business continuity strategy based on leading practices identified by CRISC and crafted to align with your organization's risk appetite, business goals, and budgetary guidelines. For details, go to CRISC-certified network risk management specialists.
Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Because Progent is a Microsoft Certified Partner and offers specialized application expertise for a broad range of small business software programs, Progent is able to assist customers to arrive at comprehensive information technology solutions that optimize the business value of your network. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent offers the expertise of qualified engineers and specialists with expertise in designing, configuring and troubleshooting networking solutions based on Cisco products. The extent of Progent's IT know-how and Progent's appreciation for the needs of small and midsize businesses make Progent the ideal partner for creating and maintaining a cost-effective, fault-tolerant information system.
How to Access Progent's Engineers for Disaster Recovery Solutions Help
To ask Progent about technical support for workplace recovery planning, phone 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.