You may have noticed that the terms disaster recovery and business continuity are sometimes used interchangeably. Maybe that makes sense considering that both are vital to the very existence of any given business. However, though closely related, disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) are two entirely different strategies, each of which plays a unique role in protecting business operations.
When Disaster Strikes …
Disasters are bound to happen, and when they do, they can cripple entire infrastructures, facilities, and communities. Disaster recovery refers to planning designed to restore systems and data in the event that they are compromised. While the backup process is one of the most important elements, DR planning reaches well beyond making copies of your data. A DR plan outlines how often you backup, where copies are replicated and stored in proximity to your data center, and your selection of recovery destinations. These components and many others all go into a comprehensive disaster recovery plan.
… Business Must Continue
From natural disasters to mishaps in the IT department, numerous events that can threaten an organization’s very existence—or at the very least, cause major disruptions and excessive downtime.
Business continuity planning focuses on designing strategies that keep business operations going. The BC planning process is far more granular by comparison. Its extensive detail can be seen in its dependence on redundancy: from servers, storage, and networking equipment to customer service reps, marketing personnel, and security detail. Everything that could possibly disrupt business flow must be stacked in reserves.
If you’re still confused or thinking these two concepts are more alike than different, you are not entirely wrong. Both strive for the common goal of sustaining business operations at all costs. But while DR planning primarily focuses on recovering IT resources on the heels of disaster, BC planning encompasses your software, finances, human resources, and anything else necessary to keep the lights on. When you look at it this way, you may see that disaster recovery is a main cog in the engine that is business continuity.
Striking a Balance
For many organizations, the issue isn’t whether to implement one strategy or the other—it’s finding an ideal balance between the two. In almost all cases, finding that happy medium comes down to specific needs and how much you can afford to spend on either strategy, as planning alone can be rather costly. Businesses hindered by tight budgets often look to outsourced solutions for answers. Managed services can prove immensely valuable by simplifying disaster recovery and business continuity projects while keeping planning affordable and helping organization make effective use of their time.
These days, it’s virtually impossible to ensure business continuity without the support of a reliable disaster recovery plan. Companies of all sizes depend on each strategy to keep things rolling. While your business requirements may favor one or the other, chances are, you need both working at the right time, in the right place, and in conjunction to secure survival of your business when push comes to shove.