Business continuity is an umbrella term that encompasses disaster recovery, backup, and all the many other aspects of ensuring a business can continue to operate in the face of a power outage, natural disaster, or other disruption. It includes elements such as detailed documentation of who lives where, contact numbers, emergency failover locations, and what everyone is supposed to do during an event. As well as the compute side, business continuity also takes in the entire physical side of alternative premises, and more.
For this guide, though, we focus on software that facilitates business continuity management (BCM), particularly on the IT side. There are a great many vendors operating in this space, and many of them also offer disaster recovery (DR) solutions, backup, archiving, and more.
Key Features of BCM Software
Generally speaking, the key features that enterprise users expect in business continuity software include:
- Automation: Enterprise users have enough complexity to deal with in their daily work, and they don’t want to have to worry about complexity when there’s a disaster. They want their business continuity solution to automatically recover data quickly so they can keep the business running. During a disaster there a lot of moving parts: without automation human errors can cause a problem with one of these moving parts.
- Unified Coverage: All of these moving parts are why unified coverage is important. Business continuity solutions that provide enterprise users with a single view across their data estate allow them to ensure that all of their moving parts are moving in lockstep together. If they try to use multiple tools or products for business continuity, each with its own incomplete view of their data estate, they risk having some workloads or data sets fall through the cracks.
- Replication/Failover: A core function is being able to continue functioning if one data center or server room goes down. Some software helps companies seamlessly failover to another facility. Others use replication so that the data is mirrored to another location.
Continuity Software Vendor Selection Tips
When selecting BCM software, there are certain important factors to consider. These include:
- Backup is Not Enough: Data is the lifeblood of business but now lives in more places than ever before, is time-consuming to manage, and is under daily attack from cybercriminals and occasionally abused by employees. Backup alone is no longer enough. To address these challenges, IT pros need a business continuity and disaster recovery solution that can address all workloads no matter where they live, provides end-to-end protection against cybercrime and human error, injects automation and artificial intelligence to simplify complex systems, and empowers teams to work on more important projects that move their organization forward.
- Automation: The best BCM software offers automation. Why scramble from screen to screen and perform endless grunt work when much of the drudgery can be eliminated by automation.
- Testing: BCM and disaster recovery testing is vital. The last thing you want is to try to recover from a disaster and find out that your BCM software and recovery plan don’t work. Testing regularly helps to eliminate the risk of data loss and downtime by guaranteeing not only recovery, but recovery within defined recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO). Good BCM software facilitates the ability to test rigorously.
- Reporting: Automated reports should offer actionable insights and essential documentation that can be shared with compliance auditors, as well as service-level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee data recovery within contracted times.
- Good support: Check out how well prospective companies support you, especially during a disaster.
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Top BCM Vendors
The vendor landscape scales from BC add-ons to existing backup applications, to cloud-based solutions, and full-fledged backup infrastructure with related software that can failover in the event of a disaster. For our top picks of BCM software, we included some from each category. Here they are, in no particular order:
Commvault Disaster Recovery provides automation and orchestration for data resiliency and disaster recovery. Built on Commvault’s core Intelligent Data Services platform, it enables organizations to ensure business continuity with broad workload coverage. Also, enterprise users can test and verify data recoverability with ease. Commvault DR is scalable, supports data recovery across hypervisors and clouds, and provides enterprise users with flexibility when it comes to where they recover their data.
- Flexible configurations for different SLAs.
- Automated processes that enable “one-click” failover and recovery operations.
- Recovery validation and SLA reporting that ensure users can recover data in compliance with SLAs.
- Ability to support rapid “cloud burst” recovery of workloads.
- Near-real time replication of workloads, allowing users to meet tight RTO and RPO requirements. Integration with storage array snapshots to enable rapid capture and granular recovery of data.
- Application awareness to drive consistent recovery of mission critical applications.
- Unified code base makes it easy for Commvault DR to protect and recover new and emerging technologies.
Unitrends, a Kaseya company, brings expertise gained from more than 30 years in backup and recovery. Its centralized platform allows users to manage backup and recovery for data centers, endpoints, cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS). The latest feature, known as Helix, eliminates failed backups due to environmental issues normally outside the control of a backup solution. It can monitor, detect, and remediate conditions in the production environment that may impact a successful backup. As a side effect, users have interrupted malware trying to cause backups to fail by messing with Windows services.
- Brings together backup and DR with automation and security.
- The platform is wrapped with data loss and downtime protections including ransomware detection, dark web monitoring for stolen credentials to eliminate account takeover attacks, and phishing defense tools.
- Automated DR testing, auto-remediation of production errors to eliminate backup failures, bespoke alerting and white-glove DRaaS for invisible failover in case of an outage or disaster.
- Adaptable licensing model which protects investment and no vendor lock in.
- Available as an all-in-one, scalable physical appliance (Recovery Series) or a virtual appliance (Unitrends Backup) which can run on VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Nutanix AHV, or be deployed as a virtual machine (VM) within the Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services cloud.
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Microsoft Azure Site Recovery
Microsoft Azure Site Recovery has an extensive global presence, integration with other Microsoft platforms, low cost, and unlimited, pay-as-you-go testing. It is especially suitable for x86 environments. You can set up Azure Site Recovery by replicating an Azure VM to a different Azure region directly from the Azure portal. As an integrated offering, Site Recovery is automatically updated with new Azure features as they’re released.
- Minimize recovery issues by sequencing the order of multi-tier applications running on multiple virtual machines.
- Ensure compliance by testing DR plans without impacting production workloads or end users.
- Keep applications available during outages with automatic recovery from on-premises to Azure or Azure to another Azure region.
- Compliance with industry regulations such as ISO 27001 by enabling Site Recovery between separate Azure regions.
- Scale coverage to as many business-critical applications as needed.
- Replicates workloads running on physical and virtual machines (VMs) from a primary site to a secondary location.
Veritas provides enterprise data services focused on application availability, protection, and analytics. The integration of Veritas data protection, resiliency, high availability, and storage management solutions provides a continuum of availability that enables a unified, enterprise-wide resiliency strategy. Veritas provides a single source of visibility, automation, and control based on advanced integration between platforms.
- Eliminates multiple point solutions for application availability and resiliency.
- Provides visibility into availability and resiliency status across all business applications from a single interface.
- Manages availability and resiliency for applications of any type.
- Choose the level of protection required based on an application’s business impact.
- Automated availability management for multi-tiered business applications.
- Visibility and reporting on availability and resiliency status across the entire organization.
- Offers InfoScale, a software-defined optimization solution for mission-critical applications that abstracts applications from their underlying hardware and software resources.
- Offers a software-defined DR and resiliency orchestration solution for physical and virtual systems that enables automated resiliency and disaster recovery for data centers and both hybrid and multicloud environments.
Sungard Availability Services (AS) disaster recovery solutions are backed by SLAs, scalable, and based on business goals. With 40 years’ experience in BC, the company is comfortable with data center migrations and complex hybrid environments. Sungard AS offers resilient, hardened data and recovery centers in 45 locations worldwide.
- Sungard AS network of facilities span the globe’s key financial and business hubs.
- Low latency and high performance.
- A partnership with Megaport enables workloads to connect securely to hundreds of cloud providers.
- Global network of 24 resilient data centers underpinned by carrier-neutral connectivity.
IBM Resiliency Services
IBM offers a vast range of services, solutions, and technologies for BCM and DR, including backup as a service (BUaaS), disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), cyber resilience service, and IT resilience orchestration (ITRO). The company offers reliable recovery of applications and data within defined RPOs and RTOs. It can also mitigate the impact of cyber disruption with an orchestrated resilience approach. In addition, business continuity management consulting services are available to identify and address resiliency synchronization between business processes, applications, and IT infrastructure.
- Rapid failover and failback for compute environments across physical, virtual, cloud and legacy layers.
- Cloud landing zones for failover to achieve improved agility, flexibility, and cost efficiency.
- Consultants are available to provide flexible business continuity and disaster recovery consulting including assessments, planning and design, implementation, testing, and full business continuity management.
- Further services include IBM IT Infrastructure Recovery Services to help businesses identify risks and ensure they are prepared to detect, react, and recover from a disruption.
- The IBM Cyber Resilience Services approach uses advanced technologies and best practices to help assess risks, prioritize and protect business-critical applications and data.
- IBM Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) provides continuous replication of critical applications, infrastructure, data and systems for rapid recovery after an IT outage.
Acronis Disaster Recovery
Acronis offers comprehensive BC protection for managed service providers as well as BC solutions for enterprises as an extension of its backup platform. It enables companies to run mission-critical applications constantly, even when the production environment is down, and achieve the best RTO and RPO by quickly adding virtual machines in the Acronis Cloud and hosting replicas of the applications.
- Test failover and failback of protected data, systems, and applications.
- Encrypt backups, extend multiple networks, and track RPO in real-time.
- One infrastructure protection with one integrated solution for any environment, on-premises, remote systems, or the cloud.
- In the event of disaster, quickly failover and run in Acronis Cloud.
- Customization of RPO for each application and data set.
- Application-level replication.
Carbonite provides a portfolio of data protection, BCM, and DR offerings for businesses including Carbonite Endpoint, Carbonite Backup for Microsoft 365, Carbonite Server Backup, Carbonite Availability and Carbonite Recover. Carbonite helps businesses reduce or eliminate the high cost and disruptive effects of data loss and downtime and achieve comprehensive protection for all types of business data.
- Carbonite Endpoint is automatic backup for all endpoint devices and the data that resides on them. It simplifies administrative tasks, protects data, mitigates data loss and data breaches, and restores lost data quickly.
- Carbonite Backup for Microsoft 365 offers backup of all Microsoft 365 applications.
- Centralized management allows you to create granular policies for what should be protected, as well as run backups up to four times per day, with flexible retention options.
- Restore granular data, including mailboxes, conversations, and projects.
- Perform site-level rollback.
- Carbonite Server is an all-in-one, server backup and recovery solution for physical, virtual and legacy systems.
- Carbonite and Webroot are creating an online security offering to fight cybercrime and protect users.
- Carbonite Recover is a DRaaS offering that securely replicates critical systems from a primary environment to the Carbonite cloud.
- Carbonite Availability enables organizations to maintain high availability of Windows and Linux servers by preventing downtime and data loss.
- Continuous, byte-level replication maintains a secondary copy without taxing the primary system or network bandwidth.
The Zerto platform enables an always-on customer experience by simplifying the protection, recovery, and mobility of applications and data across private, public, and hybrid clouds. Built for enterprise scale, its software-only platform uses continuous data protection to converge disaster recovery, backup, and data mobility. Users can failover to any secondary location (on-premises, public cloud, or service providers) without data loss.
- Zerto Continuous Data Protection (CDP) eliminates periodic backups and snapshots, bringing always-on replication to perform disaster recovery and data protection.
- Always-on Replication by continuous capture and tracking of data modifications.
- Every change made is automatically written into a journal with a granularity of seconds, so you can rewind to a point in time immediately before an incident.
- Consistent recovery of multi-VM applications for accelerated RTOs.
- Automated, simple workflows for all recovery, restore, move, and failover operations from entire data centers to single file. These workflows unlock RTOs of minutes, even for ransomware.
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