Business Continuity &
Make Parallels®️ Remote Application Server (RAS) part of your business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan to help your organization deliver full virtual workspaces and remain operational during adverse events.
BCDR is a set of processes and techniques that enables organizations to quickly resume operations during and after a disaster. BCDR has become a watchword in organizations, and for good reason. An increasingly always-on, 24x7x365 world means that any enterprise, at some point, can become vulnerable to risks beyond its control.
The primary goal of BCDR is to reduce risks associated with an unexpected interruption, helping organizations to run as ‘close to normal’ as possible. When appropriately executed, BCDR planning can enable an organization to increase revenue and improve its reputation. It also helps an organization to meet regulatory and compliance requirements.
Business continuity and disaster recovery combine two terms: business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) into a single term, BCDR. This is due to a growing recognition that business and technology executives must work closely, rather than in isolation, while planning incident responses.
Business continuity processes ensure that mission-critical functions continue with minimal downtime during, and after, an interruption. A business continuity plan (BCP) usually starts with a business impact analysis (BIA), which determines the BCP’s scope and other requirements, such as legal, regulatory and contractual obligations.
Disaster recovery is more reactive and defines how an IT department can recover from a specific incident or disaster. While business continuity focuses on the entire organization, disaster recovery zeroes in on IT, covering processes such as server and network restoration, provisioning backup systems and copying back up data.
Ensuring that a business stays functional throughout the disaster period is a priority for BCDR. However, it can also help save lives in a disaster such as fire or terrorist attack. Fire and evacuation drills in a BCDR plan are critical to delivering the protocol to follow if a real disaster strikes.
BCDR planning can also help identify faults in the system, which can be corrected in advance of an actual event, mitigating major disaster from occurring. It also demonstrates care for employees’ welfare and outlines the necessary steps to ensure their safety and well-being.
Downtime costs can greatly harm a business, especially if employees or customers lose access to mission-critical applications and data for an extended period. An effective BCDR creates a resilient network that lessens the risks of data breaches. This can, in turn, avoid financial losses associated with such breaches.
Organizations that are transparent about their BCDR efforts usually communicate a powerful statement to their customers: that they have the right processes in place to continue offering services—no matter what. This helps build confidence among customers and other stakeholders they conduct business with.
Besides building customer confidence, BCDR also boosts employee confidence. Employees who are well-versed with the organization’s BCDR planning efforts are more likely to feel prepared since they know what to do when disaster strikes. These employees are also more likely to become adept at handling daily, smaller disruptions.
Brand value and reputation are critical assets that companies must nurture and protect. Those companies that are not prepared to manage disruptions risk appearing incompetent in the eyes of their customers—and once customer trust is lost, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to get back. Having a solid BCDR plan ensures you have a smooth engine for recovery and can help preserve your brand value and reputation.
BCDR processes can generate tons of data, including Recovery Point Objectives (RPO), Recovery Time Objectives (RTO), essential business units, critical tasks and the financial implications of disruptions, among others. Organizations can leverage this data for process improvement and other strategic activities to achieve and improve their bottom line.
Organizations can achieve a competitive edge if business can return to a state of normalcy more quickly than the competition. Restoring the network to enable customers the access they need to mission-critical applications and data helps to differentiate the business as dependable and capable. This makes a business more attractive to potential customers and other partners.
Many regulators require organizations to demonstrate a certain degree of business resilience. Implementing BCDR measures is an excellent way to show that business resilience is a priority. And even if there are no regulations to adhere to, having a BCDR plan is proof to customers and other stakeholders that the organization is operating responsibly.
Organizations drop the ball when they ignore the need for effective business continuity and disaster recovery planning. For such organizations, constructing an impervious architecture that cannot tolerate or gracefully respond to failures makes more sense than having a sound BCDR in place. The reality is that system failures happen all the time, and companies must plan for this inevitability. Automating the recovery process can minimize the number of manual tasks required to handle such workloads and enable IT administrators to focus on other pressing matters.
The terms disaster recovery, high availability (HA) and fault-tolerance (FT) are closely related—but many IT administrators tend to confuse them. For starters, both HA and FA ensure that the system runs all the time without degradation. HA’s design provides ample redundant resources to ensure the application recovers quickly if one of its components crashes.
In contrast, FT is an upgraded version of HA and has a primary goal of ensuring the system runs with zero downtime. FT’s design is more complex than that of HA since it requires higher redundancy to achieve zero downtime.
Disaster recovery plans help to address significant disasters, not service disruptions. It revolves around widespread business functionalities that may extend beyond HA and FT systems. High availability and fault-tolerance, on the other hand, address localized business functionality losses.
When it comes to BCDR planning, it’s essential to factor in all possible failure scenarios—including the unlikely and obscure incidences. Don’t just focus on protecting one specific failure while leaving the door open for countless others. Also, some disruptive events like machine breakdowns occur more frequently than others, such as natural catastrophes.
This means thinking through all the disruptions, if you want to create an informed enterprise-wide BCDR plan. You should also thoroughly analyze all costs—both direct and indirect—that may accrue when the system goes down in order to understand how each affects your company and its ability to move forward.
Most organizations wrongly assume that if they have business continuity in place, they automatically have disaster recovery. Business continuity ensures that the delivery of all essential business functions continues despite disruptive events. It focuses on people, functions and processes beyond technology.
On the other hand, disaster recovery is comprised of tools, procedures and policies that enable the recovery of systems after a disaster. As a subset of business continuity, disaster recovery doesn’t cover all the aspects of the enterprise-wide BCM. An effective BCDR plan should address how and where people work when the office is compromised.
It doesn’t matter how great your BCDR plan is if you don’t test it to ensure it actually works during an emergency. Creating effective BCDR testing may be costly for the organization, however failing to test it is one step away from having no plan and can ruin a company’s chances of survival if a significant disruption does occur.
Closely related to BCDR testing is the failure to update it. Organizations should treat a BCDR plan as a living document. As the business grows, is acquired or technology changes, so should the BCDR plan. A detailed BCDR plan that gathers dust on the shelf cannot be effective in addressing disruptions.
Cloud computing has undoubtedly made some aspects of BCDR much easier, especially with the growth of virtualization platforms. However, it also complicates IT operations for most organizations, particularly in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments.
Whether leveraging private cloud resources or implementing third-party cloud services, it’s difficult for organizations to have a big picture view of their entire IT infrastructure. Relying on a cloud vendor for BCDR is not enough. When a disaster strikes, companies must have a full picture view of their hosted IT resources from a single pane of glass.
When it comes to safeguarding data and minimizing downtime, there’s no room for guesswork. Without a solid, strategic BCDR plan, even the most mundane outages can cause far-reaching consequences, potentially impacting long-term revenue growth, brand value and reputation.
Parallels RAS delivers an all-inclusive portfolio of BCDR solutions.
Parallels RAS is a comprehensive virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution. Organizations can leverage it to publish Windows applications and desktops, which in turn can be hosted either on-premises, on public clouds, or both. If disaster strikes, employees can access published resources from any location on any device and platform—including HTML5-compliant browsers.
While using Parallels RAS, users enjoy a native-like experience irrespective of the device they’re using to access published resources. It’s simple to drag, swipe, zoom in, and tap to click while using Windows applications and desktop on mobile endpoints just as one would on a PC. This makes it easier to complete tasks while working remotely.
Parallels RAS supports both multi-cloud and hybrid cloud deployments. Organizations can easily segregate their resources and migrate them between on-premises and public cloud infrastructures with Parallels RAS. This flexibility enables organizations to seamlessly distribute workloads when computing requirements and costs change.
Moreover, load balancing is enhanced via High Availability Load Balancing (HALB) in Parallels RAS. This extra layer of redundancy evenly distributes traffic between the gateways ensuring that users never experience downtime.
Parallels RAS enables IT administrators to secure corporate applications and data by enforcing client policies based on endpoints or Active Directory (AD) groups. Parallels RAS Client Group Policy minimizes IT administrators’ efforts to support multiple configurations, even for new users.
For example, you can quickly add a new employee who joins the organization to a particular AD group. This employee automatically receives all pre-configured policies for the group. Besides the Client Group Policy, Parallels RAS also secures corporate data and applications via cutting-edge technologies, including smart card authentication and multi-factor authentication (MFA). It also supports Duo, Google Authenticator and SafeNet, among others.
Proactive monitoring and reporting is a crucial component of BCDR. During a crisis, it enables IT managers to identify and prioritize business processes and services and establish appropriate responses. Parallels RAS has an enterprise-grade monitoring and reporting engine that converts raw data into intuitive and visual reports.
IT administrators have a complete view of the entire organization’s IT infrastructure, enabling them to obtain detailed statistics, including groups, users, applications, server usage and devices.