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Business continuity vs. Disaster recovery - the key differences explained 

Very often, the terms ‘business continuity’ and ‘disaster recovery’ are used interchangeably, with many businesses swapping and changing between the two as they see fit. There’s just one problem, the two phrases mean completely different things and represent two entirely different strategies - each of which is a vital component in safeguarding business operations. 

It is essential for businesses to understand the differences between these two important practices in order to effectively protect important data. We look to address any confusion in this blog post. 

What is the difference between disaster recovery and business continuity? 

Business continuity relates to a strategy that allows an organisation to operate with minimal or no downtime in the event of a service outage, while disaster recovery refers to the ability to restore the data and applications that operate within a business should a data centre, server or other infrastructure become damaged or compromised. 

Disaster recovery strategies involve restoring a business’s vital support systems, for instance, communications, hardware and other IT assets. These strategies seek to minimise business downtime to focus on restoring technical operations to their original state in the shortest time possible. 

Business continuity is broader 

Relating to business operations and the management of staff and facilities, business continuity accounts for a much larger scope of maintenance than the recovery of just data. Without this, regular business operations would be unable to continue during a disaster. 

Business continuity can be the difference between survival and complete shutdown, and is based on the ongoing analysis and isolation of critical business processes. 

Most companies approach this issue from a practical analysis of how long recovery would take. The problem of time to recovery introduces a number of business continuity questions, including: 

  • What do we need to recover first to stay in business? 
  • What do customers need to remain assured of our stability? 
  • What do our business partners need to continue ordering, fulfilment and delivery? 
  • What do our vendor relationships insist upon to work with us? 

Businesses considering what to recover first need to analyse these relationships to determine which functions are critical and what can be suspended until you fully recover. 

It is also essential to identify the key members of staff who must know what they need to do and when they need to do it in the event of a disaster. For every required job, someone must be designated to carry it out. These individuals must be qualified to carry on the business in the event of a disaster. 

The plan should also focus on customers and the supply chain. Suppliers must know that their payment invoices are in the pipeline and ready for payment, while customers need to be confident that their orders will still be honoured with only a slight delay. 

Your business continuity plan should include a process to replace and recover your IT systems. 

Disaster recovery planning

Disaster recovery represents a portion of business continuity planning, which includes getting systems up and running again after a disaster. But what exactly is a disaster? Such an event can range from small hardware failures to a massive security breach. 

Whatever type of security strategy you pursue, protecting the critical data of your business is vital. If your business lost some or all of its data, it is highly likely you would be unable to continue operations, meaning you wouldn’t know what to bill your customers, what they owe and what you owe service providers. On top of this, inventory information, contracts and manufacturing processes would all be gone. 

Disaster recovery plans are developed so that all personnel know exactly what to do to help the business to recover in the aftermath of a catastrophic event. Even natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods, have caused large corporations to activate their disaster recovery plans, and it is only after these events occur that some businesses are left wishing they had one in place. 

Contact Evaris today to discuss disaster recovery and business continuity for your business. Our technology experts are happy to help. Contact us by calling 0330 124 1245, or email hello@evaris.com.

Robert.G

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