Disaster recovery planning Spring Newsletter

In this issue
Disaster recovery planning
Case Study: CSL Group
Building a plan
Choosing the right backup
In brief
Spring Newsletter
Disaster recovery planning
One story has dominated the headlines since the New Year; floods. As
these ‘rare’ weather incidents appear to be occurring more often we’ve
devoted this issue to looking at ways of protecting your IT resources. In
this edition we’ll explore how to create an effective business continuity
plan (BCP) and look at technologies that can help achieve that plan.
I hope you find this edition useful, whether you’ve
developed your plan or not, and remember if you
need any help with business continuity
management we are just a phone call away.
The cost of disruption
As an organisation’s reliance on its IT resources
grows, it’s more important than ever to protect
those assets. It’s not just about client data.
Applications, business processes, networks, even
physical security can be affected too.
Business interruptions don’t just stem from extreme
examples of disaster. The combined effort of
everyday issues can cause more headaches than
rare disasters.
As well as headaches disruptions incur costs to your
organisation. A simple email virus may not appear
to be a disaster; but the time and resource required
to resolve the issue can be significant.
Abtec Network Systems Ltd
Of respondents said that the costs
of BCP had been justified by the
benefits to the organisation.
of managers whose organizations
arrangements in the last 12
months agreed that it had
effectively reduced disruption.
Source: CMI Business Continuity
Management Survey 2013
01858 438 500
Disaster recovery planning
Whether it’s a virus, server failure, or an asteroid from
space; there are ways to protect your IT resources against
Plan, Prepare, Practice, Persist
In its simplest form BCP is the pro-active protection of
selected assets to ensure that your organisation can still
operate, should an incident occur. It’s a continuous
process of:
• Identifying your organisation’s products or services
• Understanding the resources and activities required to
produce these
• Mitigating the risks that could disrupt those resources
and activities
We’ll look at how to create a BCP in more depth later.
How can Abtec help?
Over the years we’ve built a portfolio of services that can
support your business continuity planning; from simple
email protection through to sophisticated real time data
centre replication.
We keep abreast of industry best
practice and provide tried and trusted BCP products and
Case Study
Abtec had only recently
commissioned Smith Brothers
Stores’ disaster recovery data
centre when a fire in an
electrical distribution point
caused a power outage to the
firm’s headquarters. IT and
communications applications
were in jeopardy of failing. This
would have caused chaos for
the staff at the HQ and nine
retail branches.
The primary data centre
automatically began to migrate
its workload over to the
secondary site, over 30 miles
away. Within minutes business
critical applications were back
up and running. “I dread to
think how much this would have
cost the business without
Abtec’s planning and support.”
Lead IT manager, Smiths
Brothers Stores Ltd.
Our engineers have the accredited skills to design, deliver,
maintain and test the business continuity service that’s
right for you. Our advice and support can help protect
your organisation from the everyday issues and extreme
Abtec Network Systems Ltd
01858 438 500
Case Study
Keeping the
Business Online
When CSL Business Machines was let down by its incumbent IT
supplier it needed an expert in IT and virtualisation to keep its
infrastructure online.
The Challenge
Midlands based print management business, CSL Business
Machines Ltd, relies on its data centre and servers. The
company runs bespoke applications that manage its
clients’ printers and helps them reduce their printing
costs. CSL thought its incumbent IT supplier had an
adequate business continuity plan should any failures
happen in its data centre.
It hadn’t, and CSL experienced a server failure which took
out its data centre for 10 days. This had a significant impact
on the business. “This failure cost the business tens of
About CSL Business Machines Ltd
CSL has been at the forefront of copier and
printer technology since the 1960s supplying
photocopiers to organisations throughout the
UK from its Midlands head office. As well as
providing printing, scanning and copying
hardware, CSL provide services that help
organisations reduce their printing costs.
These services rely heavily on server
applications in CSL’s data centre.
thousands of pounds in revenue.” explains Andy Perkins,
Director CSL Business Machines, “It was also disruptive and
disconcerting for our staff”. CSL was disappointed with the
support it received from its current IT supplier and decided
it was time for a change.
Abtec Network Systems Ltd
01858 438 500
Case Study
Abtec provided:
The Solution
Abtec recommended a number of changes to improve CSL’s IT
Cisco servers
Dell SAN
VMware vSphere
Veeam back up
Professional services
Backup Exec
Token based support
resilience. Using VMware vSphere, Abtec virtualised its server
environment. The team installed a Dell Storage Area Network
(SAN) device. Implementing shared storage means that if a
single server fails, other servers still have access to that data.
Abtec reused some of the existing server infrastructure at one
of CSL’s remote premises. Veeam’s backup and replication
software enables the daily disk backups to be tested and
“Abtec has restored our
management’s and
staff’s confidence in our
IT infrastructure”
recovered offsite, even individual files and folders can be
recovered very simply.
The Results
CSL now has an IT environment that is protected against many
types of disaster or failure. If CSL experience a server failure,
VMware’s high availability feature will migrate its virtual servers to
another server in the cluster. The company’s data, which is
backed up daily, can be recovered and accessed at a remote site,
helping mitigate against the loss of data due to IT failures. Abtec
installed its Abtec Network Monitor tool, this service remotely
monitors CSL’s Local Area Network and the devices on that
network. It identifies possible issues, and notifies both Abtec and
CSL, before these issues escalate into problems.
“The biggest benefit for CSL is that our IT backbone can now be
restored within a few hours rather than weeks. Abtec has
restored our management’s and staff’s confidence in our IT
infrastructure” states Andy Perkins. “We chose Abtec as we were
impressed with the company’s professionalism and
conscientiousness. The company really understands our business
and we’ve been delighted with the company’s depth of expertise”
Andy affirms.
Abtec Network Systems Ltd
01858 438 500
Building a Plan
Abtec Network Systems: Case Study
The aim of an IT business continuity plan is to provide a blueprint of how
your organisation will still operate under adverse conditions.
Create the team.
Building and maintaining a BCP will
require an effective project
essential too, without that you’ll
have difficulty building the team.
Questions to ask
Who is sponsoring the
Who do we need in the team?
A sponsor and project team.
Abtec Network Systems Ltd
Analysing your
Identifying the risks are to your key
products and services with help begin
to build a plan to mitigate those risks.
In this step you will first identify what
your key products and services are,
and then analyse the risks associated
with disruptions to these services.
Questions to ask
What products and services do we
What do we have to contractually
provide to our clients?
What IT services are required to
produce these products and services?
What would the impact of disruption
be after 24 hours, one week and two
Documented list of products and
services in order of priority. This
should record the maximum tolerable
period of disruption for each service.
Also, it should identify the IT
resources required to maintain that
product or service at the base
acceptable level.
Building a plan will take some time; it will involve the evaluation of your entire organisation
and its external stakeholders. Remember, Abtec has years of experience building plans, our
knowledge could help you create a comprehensive plan much quicker.
Understanding the risks.
Analysing the likely risks of
disruption for each service is a
necessity. There are general risks,
for example losing a data network
connection, which could affect all
products however there could be
risks specific to one product or
service. It is valuable to prioritise
these risks based on the
probability of occurrence and
Questions to ask
What are the organisation’s
general IT risks?
Are there any risks specific to each
What are the probabilities of these
risks occurring?
A detailed risk assessment
01858 438 500
Building a Plan
Developing the plan.
By this point you’ve identified your key
products and services, the IT resources
required to produce and maintain these and
the risks that could disrupt the production of
these services. This stage of the process is
concerned with how to mitigate the risks that
you’ve identified. As you’d expect having an
up to date knowledge of both available
technology and its ease of use is paramount
for this stage. That’s where Abtec can help.
Questions to ask
What services are in the market to mitigate
our risks?
How easy are those services to use?
What are the costs of those services?
A list of services that can mitigate your risks,
along with the appropriate budgets for those
Abtec Network Systems Ltd
Abtec Network Systems: Case Study
Test and implement the plan.
A BCP plan that no one knows about is as
much use as not having one. The plan has
to be tested and reviewed to ensure that it
is fit for purpose. Once the plan has been
agreed it then needs to be implemented
across your organisation. Just like a fire drill
test, testing the BCP plan will increase your
preparedness if the worst should happen.
Questions to ask
Does this plan meet our needs?
Have we informed every one of the plan?
How do we test the plan?
Various risk scenarios that can be put to the
test. Fully documented BCP, regular reviews
of that plan.
01858 438 500
Choosing the right backup
Abtec Network Systems: Case Study
With so many different backup technologies in the market, it can be
confusing identifying the right one for you. Here are some of the questions
we ask our clients to help select the best backup technology for them.
If you need advice about backups contact Abtec on 01858 438 500.
Do you have
a secondary
location for
Do you want
to use this as
a DR site?
Do you have
lots of
bandwidth at
your site?
Storage Area Network
Great way of backing up
data offsite. Ideal for
BCP, data replication
can be done in real
time. Good for
organisations with
business critical
applications as they can
improve application
availability and
resilience. Fast
recovery times.
Network Attached
Collection of hard drives
connected to a LAN.
Used to serve files for
users on that network.
Data can be
automatically backed
up to a central point.
Low cost storage; great
option for backing up
and sharing files.
Enterprise cloud
Remote storage; usually
held in third party data
centres. Those with
large volumes of data
may wish to avoid
internet connected
clouds as retrieving
data can take an age.
Good option if you have
lots of bandwidth.
Tape backup
LTO-6, the latest
standard in tape drives,
has breathed new life
into this established
technology. Up to 6.25
TB can now be stored
on one tape, after
compression. Ideal for
businesses with a single
In Brief
Abtec Network Systems: Case Study
Abtec joins Broadband Connection Voucher scheme
We are now an authorised supplier for the UK
Government’s Broadband Connection Voucher
The scheme enables certain small to medium
enterprises to claim up to £3,000 for the
installation of a faster internet connection. It’s
ideal for businesses that want to get more from the
Abtec has a team of Broadband Connection
Voucher champions that can help businesses
identify if they are eligible for the vouchers, the
team can be contacted on 01858 438 548.
Green nomination for Abtec
Abtec Building Technologies, our sister organisation,
has received a prestigious award for it’s work in
creating one of the World’s greenest building, the
Crystal. This iconic, East London building was
opened to the public last year.
The company was a finalist in the the KNX
International Project 2014 awards, a building
automation industry accolade. “It’s fantastic to see
Abtec’s energy reduction expertise recognised in this
landmark building” says Dave Watkins, MD of Abtec
Building Technologies.
Read all about the project in this new case study.
Abtec Network Systems Ltd
01858 438 500