NextGen 360° Advanced Business Continuity™
Whether you need to implement a flexible continuity solution from scratch, fine-tune your current capability, or expand to the next level of preparedness… our only business is to help you get there.
We’ve specifically designed our methodologies to function in today’s context of cost containment and limited resources and to establish your business continuity capability more effectively and less expensively than any other vendor in the industry.
When you need help with any of the common continuity issues: vendor selection, business impact analysis, recovery architectures, plan development, vital records or testing… be it for recovery or full-blown continuity, let our experience be your expertise.
Remember, there is a better way that produces a superior solution for less.
And less risk.
Systems Availability Architecture Design
WTG specializes in Advanced Business Continuity architectures that employ HA (high availability) and CA (continuous availability) technologies and techniques to dramatically increase system and platform availability, while reducing recovery timeframes and alternate site footprints. Relevant technologies (including job scheduling, automated data backup and restoration, data storage, NAS and SANs, remote device management, remote data storage and mirroring, application restoration, communication protocols, etc.) augment, extend or enhance continuity and recovery capabilities. HA techniques applied to critical applications or platforms increase up-time and return measurable benefits on a daily basis while concurrently simplifying recoverability and shortening recovery timeframes. HA can be readily extended geographically through additional technologies with the result being CA (continuous availability). For the first time, these technologies can actually prevent a disaster from occurring and provide true business continuity.
Data Availability Architecture Design
Data is the key to recoverability, but data readiness is no longer a simple matter of backing up disks to off-site tape storage. WTG’s NextGen Data Availability Architecture starts with a comprehensive analysis of all five aspects of Data Availability and results in specific recommendations for state-of-the-art data availability for contingency planning projects ranging from single applications to mainframe and open platforms to the entire enterprise. Data selection ensures that all critical datasets and databases are identified at the application level and that all redundancies and batch propagations are eliminated. Strategies are implemented to control data synchronization (especially cross-application and cross-platform synchronization) to a logical point in time. Data integrity is addressed through strategies that minimize exposure to lost or corrupted data due to backup and transmission techniques. Data accessibility, the length of time it takes to make data re-available, is examined and corrective strategies applied where needed. And finally, data protection is enhanced through strategies for archiving, off-site storage and rotation. The latest technologies to physically backup and store data are examined for applicability, including the current storage, RAID, HSM, SAN and NAS technologies. WTG’s data availability architectures start with the client’s business processes and factor 12 distinct data readiness, integrity and protection technologies into the continuity equation to provide optimal levels of data availability based on underlying business process requirements. All recommendations take into consideration available processing windows, process quiesce abilities, available hardware, and restoration timeframes in conjunction with RTO and RPO requirements.
Recovery Plan Development
WTG offers a full range of recovery plan development services ranging in scope from single application or platform recovery to comprehensive IT recovery to complete business recovery. Our recovery plans address all the traditional stages of recovery from immediate response and declaration to the return home migration but are not limited to IT recovery. They also extend to include recovery of mission-critical business processes, without the overhead normally associated with “business” recovery planning. Plans can be developed on any preferred recovery planning software tool and include declaration trees, call lists, team identification, action steps and supporting documentation. Our recovery plan development services are unique and use proprietary techniques to shorten reaction times and enable faster recovery than is typical. Plans are action oriented to direct recovery efforts efficiently and to minimize maintenance requirements. Restoration procedures are automated to ensure application synchronization and further reduce maintenance efforts. WTG’s NextGen 360° ABC™ methodology is used to ensure that your recovery capability steadily increases throughout the development effort to provide an ever-increasing level of recoverability and avoid the typical monolithic project approach.
Continuity Plan Development
WTG also offers a full range of continuity plan development services for all project scopes. Our plans are event-agnostic but impact-specific. They are very different from the typical industry definition which focuses on conventional recovery scenarios for business areas. As with our recovery plans, our continuity plans are structured vertically to concurrently address both IT and critical business processes. But, continuity plans are designed specifically for high availability (HA) or continuous availability (CA) environments. Because HA and CA environments by definition, eliminate all but the worst-case disaster scenarios, continuity plans are structurally different than recovery plans. In addition to typical recovery plan components like immediate reaction, declaration and restoration procedures, our continuity plans include fail-over and fail-back procedures that must be implemented much faster than “normal” recovery scenarios dictate. This requirement changes the structure of the plan documents, and in many cases, actually simplifies them. WTG’s continuity plan development service enables businesses to take advantage of advanced technologies that reduce their exposure to disaster outages and produces plan documents that are specifically designed for the more exacting tolerances required by HA and CA environments.
Iterative Business Process Decomposition (IBPD)
Our NextGen alternative to the Business Impact Analysis (BIA) focuses on business process analysis and borrows techniques from process modeling disciplines to create a graphical view of your business process flows. The IBPD distinguishes between applications and processes and enables continuity of total business processes instead of partial application recovery. Our NextGen IBPD identifies mission-critical processes, second and third level interactions, upstream and downstream dependencies, recovery requisites and solution architectures better than any form of traditional BIA. By understanding the true needs of the business and how processes interact, proportionate, cost-effective recovery solutions can be designed. The IBPD is the ideal foundation for all continuity planning efforts, serves as the justification for continuous operations and recovery planning expenses and defines the level of capability required in terms business decision-makers can understand. It also serves as a permanent benchmark for future application development, system integration, training and business process improvement initiatives.
Point of Failure Analysis and CPR
The first step to disaster tolerance is risk avoidance. WTG conducts comprehensive point of failure analysis to determine exposures in your current environments that can be prevented. Six exposure areas are examined: data availability and integrity, infrastructure (power, cabling, fire prevention, security, etc.), application architectures, upstream and downstream dependencies, network redundancy, and component hardware and software deployment. CPR (Current Preparedness Review) is a quick and efficient way to determine your current state of disaster resistance and/or business continuity. All recovery planning components including alternate sites, hardware and software availability, data readiness, vital records, application synchronization, off-site storage and plan documents, are reviewed to determine their applicability to meet stated business continuity requirements. We also assess your key availability and recoverability technologies for their applicability, use and effectiveness in supporting and recovering data centers, open system platforms and business units. A comprehensive report is prepared defining all exposures and includes specific recommendations to correct them.
Most companies consider a commercial recovery center as a component of their overall continuity capability, but selection of a hotsite vendor can be a daunting exercise. And today, many businesses are looking at High Availability infrastructures to reduce their exposure to disaster scenarios. WTG is uniquely qualified to help ensure you get the most from your hotsite subscription or your HA initiatives. We know what terms the major vendors will and will not accept. We know the going rate for services as well as the minimum rate, which arms us to get you better prices. We have successfully negotiated creative upgrade clauses that recognize the rapid depreciation of hardware and give you more coverage with more flexibility. We know how to get long-term prices in contracts with outs that allow flexibility as your requirements and options change. And we can accomplish this while maintaining a win-win environment that ensures an excellent vendor relationship for the all-important support needed throughout the life-cycle of your program. WTG can assist the “first time buyer” with everything from a formal RFP through final contract negotiations and help “seasoned pros” deal with implementations, renewals and extensions. The savings we gain in the first contract years often more than pay for our fees with latter year savings dropping right to our client’s bottom line.
Crisis communication plans, although critical to a comprehensive continuity capability, are not addressed in most recovery planning methodologies. WTG works with your communications department to develop a comprehensive Crisis Communication Plan that addresses external communications to the public, the press, suppliers and other external entities and focus on damage control and public relations. We predefine your disclosure policy, which determines how much information is released to external sources based on the type and nature of the disaster. The approach here is to identify the most likely type of disasters and to pre-develop speaking points, press releases and press kits. This approach ensures that the sensitive issues for various disaster scenarios are identified before the stress of the crisis and that appropriate communication stances are formulated in advance. Controlling who speaks to external sources, what they say, and how they say it can make a huge difference in how the press and the public react to your business interruption and how they accept your recovery efforts. All team members likely to have exposure to the press will be coached on the issues of dealing with the press and trained on the most effective techniques to controlled disclosure.
Testing and Maintenance
Testing is the key to validating and fine-tuning a recovery capability. WTG works with clients to develop a life-cycle testing program that steadily improves their recovery capabilities and protects not only the business, but the investment in the recovery capability. Integrated tests measure the effectiveness of the component recovery plans when combined for corporate recovery. WTG can prepare comprehensive test plans and scripts that maximize the likelihood of a successful test and minimize the time required from your recovery team members. WTG test plans ensure that change control procedures are integrated into the fabric of the daily operations environment. Both internal and external sources of change will be identified and documented, and wherever possible, business continuity change control will be integrated into existing change control procedures. Where change control does not currently exist, WTG will work with the client to implement appropriate new change control procedures. WTG provides ongoing maintenance of the test cycle, ensuring that your recovery capability and the environment that it is protecting stay synchronized… so as your business demands evolve, your recovery capability also evolves.
WTG’s service components are predefined, logical combinations of tactics designed to help prevent a disaster through the use of advanced, continuous availability strategies and to recover from a disaster in worst-case scenarios. For businesses just starting their contingency planning programs, these service components, combined with our NextGen 360° Advanced Business Continuity™ methodology, represent a complete business continuity strategy. For those businesses already well-along with their continuity planning initiatives, our service components can be implemented on a pick-and-choose basis to address your specific needs on a timely basis.
Ask the hard questions!
- Are conventional recovery timeframes of 24 or 48 hours simply too long to meet your current business availability requirements?
- Are your contingency planning initiatives meant to really protect the business or simply to satisfy audit or management concerns?
- Are all of your backup files synchronized between all applications, all platforms and all locations?
- Can you really restore all backup data in the time allowed by your recovery time objective?
- Have you ever tested all applications and are your business personnel willing to guarantee that all applications are restored correctly?
- Are your business personnel ready to wait 24 or 48 hours for their systems to return and do they know what to do while they’re waiting?
- Does your planned recovery time include the time it will take for management to really “pull the trigger” and declare a disaster?
- Can you really afford to lose the data from the last backup…do you have plans to reconstruct it or will it be lost forever…have your business personnel ever actually reconstructed it?
- Does management really understand the extent of your recoverability and exactly what won’t be recovered?
- Have your recovery architectures significantly improved over the past few years or are you re-testing the same old things?
- Do you feel that you are paying more than you should for your recovery capabilities?