There is a lot of complexity and technology that goes into business continuity planning (BCP) software and tools. Whereas disaster recovery (DR) products are involved with recovering data and applications following a massive data loss, cyberattack, or disaster, BCP tools take things a stage further.
BCP software and tools encompass DR and all the aspects of continuity planning, including the documentation of recovery plans, personnel organization, the processes and procedures to be followed, and a whole lot more.
Core Functions of Business Continuity Solutions
There are certain core functions that should be in place for business continuity planning. These include:
The traditional approach is to always maintain two backup copies of each cycle: one copy onsite and one offsite. The sole reason for the onsite copy is to service fast restores. When called upon, the backup sets protect against two different needs: operational restore and disaster restore.
RPO and RTO
It is important to align Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) with ongoing data expansion, as well as economics. It is all very well to set severe RPO and RTO targets, but there comes a point when the cost spirals out of control.
Business Continuity Planning
Executives and key stakeholders should be involved in the planning phase, along with department heads. Ideally, the plan should ensure the business can keep employees safe and operations running in the event of fire, cyberattack, trouble with a vendor, or anything else that could occur.
The plan must address questions such as:
- How much downtime can the business afford?
- If equipment fails, how much data can the business afford to lose?
- What actions must the company take following a disaster, and what are the objectives?
The plan should make it possible to cope with a large disaster, a major data breach, an interruption of the line of succession, or the closure of a critical vendor.
Read more: How to Create a Business Continuity Plan
Someone must gather the key pieces of information on the plan, ensure it is documented, and lay down the appropriate protocols and procedures clearly. In terms of employees, the documented plan should assign who does what, how they can be contacted, and what their role is if something goes wrong.
Vendors need to have a fallback if something goes wrong. The workings of all equipment and their dependencies should be diagramed out. The plan must encompass desktops, servers, and more. Standard operating procedures, too, must be created.
Schedule time to test scenarios and ensure what has been planned is actionable and functional. This includes fire and earthquake drills, as well as testing backup and recovery plans to ensure servers and other critical equipment can be restored promptly.
Top Business Continuity Software
There are plenty of options for server business continuity software. CIO Insight selected the following, in no particular order:
Arcserve Business Continuity Cloud is cloud hosted. It combines backup, availability, and email archiving to eliminate downtime and data loss from applications and systems in any location. Its goal is to solve all data protection challenges as a single vendor, with a broad data protection portfolio that can protect any environment, small or large.
- Prevents downtime
- Restores SLAs
- Automatically tests
- Safely moves data without draining bandwidth
- Restores data under any circumstance
- Scales as you grow
- Supports corporate compliance
- Multi-cloud and cross-cloud data protection
- Live cloud migration without downtime
- Integrated cybersecurity protects on-premises and in-the-cloud environments from data loss and ransomware
- Manage explosive data growth with scale-out storage solutions protected by immutable snapshots
Quantivate Business Continuity Software reduces the time spent managing and maintaining plans. It enables the organization to develop implementable business continuity and disaster recovery plans, keeps plans up to date, and increase the availability of critical operations. It uses a repeatable methodology that removes single points of failure in processes and technology. This ensures quantifiable risk measurement capabilities and allows business continuity and disaster recovery data to be harnessed for the greater governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) good.
- Understand connections and dependencies across the organization through integrated data-sharing
- Guided processes to develop a complete continuity program, rather than disconnected activities and data silos
- Digitize and centralize BC/DR plans and other documentation
- Record organizational procedures for disasters, emergencies, and other unexpected incidents
- Built-in tools to identify critical processes, analyze risks and their impact, test the efficacy of plans, and respond to incidents
- Access plan templates, a built-in editor tool, and optional consulting services
FalconStor StorGuard is a heterogeneous continuous replication software that operates between the application servers and target storage systems to protect the data. It logs every write to the server and enables a single RPO across the stack. It operates on-premise, in cloud, and on tape backups, and offers IT the ability to find the right mix of backup, security, and business continuity. FalconStor’s StorGuard and StorSafe are heterogeneous software that enable organizations to standardize their process and knowledge bases, achieve security, and avoid vendor lock-in.
- Takes application-consistent snapshots of mission-critical servers so a user can recover all components of the application to a single RPO
- Can operate on a LUN-by-LUN basis from one disk array to another
- A second copy of data can be kept for safety, or used to migrate across arrays, data centers, colos, or public clouds
- StorGuard can copy entire sites of virtual machines and volumes to a new remote site, or even to a public or private cloud to failover
- FalconStor’s companion product, the StorSafe disk-based backup target, has deduplication rates of 20:1 or greater
- Copies can be made on tapes to be sent offsite, or copies can be run at a remote site or cloud
- All changes are continuously replicated from on-premise to remote copies
- All transmissions done over encrypted links, and all data at rest encrypted with AES256
Datadobi DobiProtect deals with data protection, helping companies protect unstructured file and object data from cyber threats such as ransomware, accidental or malicious deletion, and file system bugs that can cause data loss. It enables users to make a copy of data between any NAS or object storage system on-premises or in the cloud.
- Copy can be isolated from the primary systems through an air gap via tape
- DobiProtect can use any system as a target, as it is vendor and protocol independent
- In the case of loss of data on the primary, the copy can be recovered to any storage system
- Select the most critical folders or files to restore first
- Where data is being stored on the same protocol (NAS-to-NAS or Object-to-Object), can failover users and applications to the copy
- Scales to any size system based on Datadobi’s unstructured data management engine
- Vendor neutral
The StorCentric Data Mobility Suite (DMS) empowers organizations to move data to where it needs to be. It offers the ability to copy and move data to the environment(s) that will ensure operations and business functions are not impacted by an outage or disaster. It provides vendor-agnostic file migration, replication, and synchronization across storage environments — including disk, tape, and public or private clouds. DMS is deployed on a non-proprietary server, integrates with current infrastructure, and makes data management and business continuity easier.
- Policies are configured for the organization’s requirements
- Supports S3-compatible clouds
- Seamless movement of data in and between heterogenous, hybrid, and cloud infrastructures
- Streamlines data movement onto new systems by ingesting legacy files with filtering and continuous incremental updates
- Tackles data flow requirements from any storage platform to another
- Enables files to be synchronized across multiple storage repositories, including disk and tape, as well as cloud providers
- Complete visibility and management control for replication and content distribution
- Includes an object storage cloud connector supporting Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage, Backblaze B2, Wasabi, and IBM ICOS, and others
DH2i DxEnterprise delivers enhanced high availability (HA) and DR capabilities to ensure business continuity. It was engineered to improve the performance and resilience of transaction processing workloads found in financial services, as well as other sectors running on top of Microsoft SQL Server. As such, it offers improved SQL Server database resilience, zero trust security, and scalability across private and public clouds, as well as between on-premises and remote locations.
- Cross-cloud, hybrid IT, and datacenter-to-datacenter clustering technology
- Enables high availability, distributed SQL Server clusters on Linux without the complexity and performance limitations of traditional clustering, replication, and VPN technologies
- Standardizes HA and DR by combining failover instances in a single DxE cluster
- Delivers scalable end-to-end multi-subnet automatic failover management for sub-15 seconds RTO
- Accelerates SQL Server performance with Express–tunnel technology
- SDP technology provides secure multi-site, multi-cloud network communications that eliminate VPN-associated lateral network attack surfaces
- Reduces costs by eliminating multiple clustering (WSFC or Pacemaker), replication, and VPN technologies
- Health and performance QoS monitoring, alerting, and orchestration
- Supports mixed Linux/Windows, Azure and AWS environments
StorageOS is a software-defined, cloud-native storage platform for running containerized production applications in the cloud, on-prem and in hybrid/multi-cloud environments. Powering Kubernetes persistent storage, enterprises can run any services and stateful applications on any infrastructure. It scales with application demand, delivering market-leading performance, high availability, data security, and business continuity.
- StorageOS aggregates storage across all nodes in a cluster into a pool
- Allows volumes to be provisioned from the pool and for containers to mount those volumes from anywhere in the cluster
- Transparently redirects reads and writes to the appropriate volume, so the container is unaware of whether it is accessing local storage or remote storage
- Volumes are thin provisioned to avoid consuming disk space unnecessarily
- Labels can be passed to StorageOS via PersistentVolumeClaims (PVCs) or applied to volumes using the StorageOS CLI or GUI
- Ensures high availability and rapid recovery for critical applications wherever they are running
- Run applications faster than other storage solutions, with low latency for stateful applications
Vcinity’s Ultimate X (ULT X) family of products provides a horizontal technology that enables applications and data to perform over any WAN as they do over the LAN, eliminating distance or latency. In addition to the ability to reach and execute on data directly over long distances, the technology also provides the fast migration of data for BC/DR workloads. Whether acting on data directly, or moving it in the more traditional sense, ULT X achieves this without the use of any compression or de-duplication.
- Executes applications on-prem, in another cloud region, or in a completely different cloud
- Expedites backup directly to an off-site location with the option to eliminate requirements for an on-premises copy
- Ensures real-time access to data at a remote site
- Recovered applications immediately work on remote backed up data with the same performance and user experience; RTO is near zero
- Instant LAN performance when working with remote data
Read next: Top Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service Solutions