When you come into the office, you sit down at your desk and get to work without a second thought. Many professionals operate like this because we assume that our work environment isn’t going to change much from day to day. We take for granted that our systems are always going to be ready to use at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, business-interrupting emergencies can happen at any time.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
If an emergency like a ransomware attack or a natural disaster were to occur, there are two strategies you can use to keep your business running: business continuity and disaster recovery. Since these two plans share a similar purpose—minimizing the impact of a catastrophic event—it’s not uncommon for one to be confused with the other. However, there are a few important differences between the two that you should know.
What Is Disaster Recovery?
Disaster recovery is your organization’s process for restoring access to data and functionality to your IT infrastructure after a disaster. This is your response plan to follow in an emergency, including what needs to be done to return to normal operations as quickly as possible. The main focus of a disaster recovery policy is data preservation.
What Is Business Continuity?
Business continuity, on the other hand, refers to an organization’s level of readiness to maintain critical functions and resume operations after a disaster. This outlines your contingency plan for moving forward during and after an emergency. The primary goal of a business continuity plan is to keep your business operational no matter what.
The Main Differences Between Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
Even after learning the definitions, it can still be difficult to tell between these two strategies. To make it a little easier, here are the main differentiators:
- Business continuity is focused on keeping everything operational, while disaster recovery focuses on restoring data access and technology.
- A disaster recovery plan can include employee safety measures, like fire drills. Business continuity is solely about the company.
- Disaster recovery minimizes abnormal or inefficient system functions. Business continuity minimizes the amount of downtime experienced during and after an event.
- Business continuity ensures that communication stays active at all times. Disaster recovery helps the business remain fully functional amid a crisis.
- Disaster recovery safeguards a company from the impacts of unforeseen events. A business continuity plan is an all-encompassing strategy that may include a disaster recovery plan.
The Importance of Putting a Plan Together
Could you imagine the damage if your infrastructure suffered a cyberattack and you weren’t prepared? The most obvious effect would be financial due to interrupted operations. In fact, global ransomware damage costs are expected to climb up to $42 billion by 2024. However, it could also cause you to lose important information or even ruin your reputation with your customers. For many businesses, such an incident forces them to close their doors permanently.
Advanced planning is not a luxury—it’s a business necessity. When you create a disaster recovery and business continuity strategy, you are actively preparing your organization for whatever comes its way. This is the best way to avoid the consequences that come with unexpected events. By having a plan in your back pocket, you can have peace of mind knowing your business is protected.
Bringing the Two Plans Together
While there’s a difference between business continuity and disaster recovery, both processes are inextricably linked. Your business continuity plan allows you to continue working while your disaster recovery procedures restore anything that was lost. When used together, these plans greatly increase your chances of keeping your company up and running with minimal downtime. As a result, you could end up saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in recovery costs.
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