The more you know about Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery (BCDR), the more you enable your organization to avoid and mitigate the risks associated with a disruption of business operations. Such events might include natural disasters like an earthquake, flood, or hurricane. It should also include contingency planning in the case of malicious attacks, power outages, system failures, and human error. The BC Plan details the steps to be taken before, during, and after an event so as to maintain the financial viability of an organization. The processes set out in the BC Plan help an organization prepare to face disruptive events, whether planned or otherwise. At a minimum, the BC Plan will involve the following:
Conducting a Risk Assessment - The organization must understand the risks that loss of operations will have on the entire business from employees, to customers, vendors, property, and operations, etc. The risk assessment of each area is based on historical, geographical, organizational factors. The BC Plan then weighs the probability of a disruptive event against the potential impact to the company in light of your readiness to respond.
Conducting a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) - This aspect of the plan identifies and evaluates the potential effects of a disastrous event on your business operations in terms of finances, safety, legal, regulatory, brand, and reputation, etc. The BIA identifies personnel, roles, responsibilities, processes, and programs critical to the continuity of business operations. It outlines everything needed to restore critical operations; then, prioritizes restoring them.
Testing and Maintenance - The BC Plan should be tailored to your business environment. While having a plan laid out on paper is a good start, it is not enough. The plan must be tested and updated regularly. Industry best practices recommend bi-annual testing to ensure the plan works as anticipated. Test plans should be audited with regularity and kept up to date. The key is to ensure the plan works as intended. Training is essential. Employees must understand their role in executing the plan. Business continuity allows your organization to:
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery are critical to the long-term viability and success of any company. CenturyLink MDRS can help strengthen your BCDR capabilities. For businesses of any size that lack BCDR expertise or the required staff to maintain the solution, CenturyLink MDRS take over the responsibilities and delivers end-to-end services. Our DRaaS solution is managed by a team of experts who customize the solution to your environment, audit the service quarterly, and carry out regular tests to ensure reliability and accuracy.
In the day and age of virtualized servers throughout a distributed IT environment, disaster recovery is more than just a necessity. It's an imperative. The Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council estimates that:
The question is not whether an outage, equipment failure, or disaster will occur. The issue is when that will happen and how well prepared your company is to face the scenario and recover from it. One particular way organizations can mitigate the likelihood of downtime, save money, and strengthen their DR preparedness is by outsourcing disaster recovery as part of the company's overall IT strategy. Our DRaaS solution helps you reduce downtime – from days to minutes and seconds. CenturyLink MDRS deliver a 99.9% uptime SLA for all single SafeHaven nodes and recovered servers residing in the CenturyLink Cloud. Our team of DR experts are standing by at the ready to protect your entire infrastructure, and never more than a phone call away.
Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) define your company’s tolerance level related to IT disruptions of critical applications, data loss, and downtime. All are about defining how quickly your business needs to recover in the event of an outage or disaster. RTO is the amount of time in which IT Infrastructure or business processes must be restored after a disaster to avoid unacceptable downtime consequences. RPO is the maximum period in which data might be lost due to a major incident. Without these important metrics, you cannot set proper expectations or clarify the assumptions you have about your DR capabilities or how to improve them. We meet with you to review and hand over the audit and test reports. That makes it easy for you to supply business units and executive management with tested and validated DR RPO and RTO numbers as required.
CenturyLink MDRS are a turn-key solution ideal for companies lacking the necessary expertise to provision, configure, test, and maintain an in-house disaster recovery plan. CenturyLink manages, optimizes, and maintains your DR solution for you. Our team are experts at disaster management. We can help you assess, design, and implement a DR solution tailored for your environment. Offload complexity. Lower your DR infrastructure costs. Minimize the risk. And enjoy peace of mind during a DR event. We’re at your service.
When an outage, malfunction, or disaster occur, the customer wants to know the DR solution provider has everything under control. In short, the customer doesn't want to worry about anything. That is exactly what you can count on when you implement the CenturyLink MDRS solution. We are here to help you manage through a DR event with at-time-of-disaster support. In any type of event, CenturyLink DR personnel are always only a phone call away.
Your assigned CenturyLink DR Manager is your coordinator of all activities during an implementation, test, audit, and ATOD support. Your DR Manager also handles all questions related to billing, credits, or any customer technical queries. He is responsible for rolling out product updates and enhancements, handling any incident/problem management, technical escalations, and root-caused analysis reports. Our team of experts do all of this for you as part of our DR Managed Services solution so that you don't have to.
Audit probes alert CenturyLink and the customer about a possible event. CenturyLink leads the conversation to evaluate the extent of damages, set the recovery expectation, and provide hands-on keyboard operations to recover your SafeHaven protected IT environment. A typical scenario unfolds like this. In the case of failover, the customer declares a disaster. Immediately, CenturyLink evaluates the damage and sets recovery expectations. CenturyLink then executes the failover workflow based on automated, and up-to-date runbooks. Once the outage or disruption is corrected, failback* automatically re-synchronizes data at the DR site back to its original, working state at the primary location.
It is important that the primary and backup sites in the solution are geographically separated from one another so that both sites are not impacted by the same outage, malfunction, or disaster. Our MDRS production site and the recovery site are located in different parts of the continent for that reason. The servers at the production site bear the active workload. The servers at the recovery site are powered off, a key feature that lowers the cost until the severs are booted for a test or an actual failover event. But data is constantly replicated from the production site to the recovery site. Monitoring probes are deployed in both protected servers and SafeHaven nodes. Example probes include offline production server, replication suspended, SafeHaven malfunction, error logs, and RPO requirement exceeded. Whenever an issue occurs, alerted are triggered and forwarded to CenturyLink DR Engineers who respond according upon receiving the alert.
Industry best practices recommend bi-annual testing of the DR solution. To be sure, a disaster recovery plan without testing is not a valid DR plan. We include regular bi-annual bubble testing as a part of the service to ensure the solution is reliable and working as anticipated. The CenturyLink DR Manager initiates those activities. First, the CenturyLink engineer isolates the network to prevent changes mode on the recovery site from redirecting to the production site and causing disruptions. Then, the engineer brings up the recovery servers based on automated runbook scripts to ensure the applications are up and running. The customer can join the test procedure to validate data integrity and perform testing against servers and applications. At the conclusion of the test, CenturyLink engineers delete the test and restore the solution back to normal. The CenturyLink DR Manager and engineers then provide remediation feedback to the customer for improvements to the solution and update the runbooks, if necessary.
In addition to semi-annual testing, the CenturyLink team of engineers also organize quarterly solution audit reviews with the customer. As production environments are dynamic, these audit reviews identify changes to the production environment, such as deprecating servers, adding or removing disks, adding new applications, or changes to network computing resources, etc. At the conclusion, an audit report is sent to the customer and your assigned CenturyLink DR Engineer. The engineer is responsible for applying the updates in both production and recover sites as specified in the report, and updating the environment runbooks as well.
*Technical support for Failback Services are not included, but can be added via a separate scope of work.
60% of companies do not have a DR Plan. Of those that do, 75% that have a DR Plan are not prepared to recover from a major outage or catastrophic disaster. That is to say, most do not pass their own tests, achieve their own SLAs, or update and retest their DR Plan. There are lots or reasons for the lack of follow-through. Testing requires time, equipment, resources, and expertise to run. There are significant costs related to the endeavor. Yet, without regular audit and testing of a DR plan, companies do not actually have a way of knowing whether or not they can recover their applications, infrastructure, and data in the event of a disaster or prolonged outage.
Consider the flip side of the coin, which is the confidence and peace of mind you have knowing with absolute certainty that your disaster recovery plan will not fail. You sleep better at night knowing that. Our DRaaS is a cost-effective solution. Offload the responsibilities and overhead associated with planning, developing, implementing, and testing your DR preparedness to our CenturyLink team of DR experts. Do it all for you.
CenturyLink MDRS allow your organization to:
As part of our DR Management Services, we offer periodic disaster recovery testing. Industry best practices recommend semi-annual DR testing at a minimum. We augment semi-annual bubble testing with quarterly audits to address gaps in the recovery process. Then, runbook automation scripts for your environment are updated accordingly. In other words, in light of the fact that production environment is dynamic by nature, your DR plan is constantly honed and perfected. Regular audits help ensure that production changes are properly reflected in the DR plan. That is followed up with testing to verify the plan works as expected. We automate all of these processes. The planning, execution and results of our DR tests of your environment are documented and delivered to you at each iteration.
Periodic testing is essential. That is certainly the case with a disaster recovery plan. The knowledge that your DR plan is managed by experts, audited quarterly, updated, tested semi-annually, documented, and works from end-to-end as expected puts your company way ahead of curve. In the case of DR audit and testing, the adage is true: practice makes perfect. That knowledge brings you peace of mind.