What Is the Difference Between Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity and Backups?

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Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity and Backups: The Differences

Imagine this, you’re working on a project for one of your most important clients. It’s almost finished, your adding your final touches… and then your hard drive fails. Or sensitive data gets hacked costing you thousands and harming your professional reputation.

Now, these situations are awful but they’re also common. In fact, servers on average can fail up to 18% of the time and there were over 1,579 data breaches in 2017.

The risks of data breaches go beyond just financial losses. Data breaches can harm consumers, destroy reputations and lead to lawsuits. But avoiding these security failures can be difficult especially if you can’t afford an IT department. As you probably already know there are many ways of protecting your data. But which method should you use and when should you use it? How do you incorporate these methods into an effective security plan?

The answer to all these questions lies in three different methods of data protection disaster recovery, business continuity, and backups. If you want to understand how each method can help your business we’ve compiled an easy way to understand the difference between them.

What is Disaster Recovery?

What’ll happen to your company if there’s an emergency? A catastrophe can happen at any time and most businesses have no idea how they would respond to a massive server crash.If this sounds like your business then you need a data disaster recovery plan. But just what is disaster recovery and how do you implement it?

Disaster recovery refers to the ability to reinstate or recover applications and data if your servers are damaged. It’s basically your ability have your network system up and running after a disaster. The most important element in this kind of planning is time. For a recovery plan to be successful it must restore data quickly. This ensures that a company can return to normal business functions as soon as possible.

How Do You Implement a Disaster Recovery Plan?

The first step to implementing a disaster recovery plan is to determine the recovery time objective or the RTO. The RTO refers to the length of time a business can survive without an IT system. Your disaster recovery plan must be fast and efficient. To be effective disaster recovery must involve every department in a company. You have to be sure that all your employees know how to respond in the event of an emergency.

You also have to know which data systems are critical for your business. This a difficult step in disaster recovery planning because it involves determining which data is most important for running a business. The simple solution is to create a list ranking the most important business functions to the least important ones. Then set up a recovery order and communication system.

After creating a list of prioritizing data you need to create a recovery team. This consists of a team of IT experts, and human resources and operations managers that help coordinate the disaster recovery plan. The most important step in a disaster recovery plan is testing. This may seem obvious but your disaster recovery plan won’t be of any use if it doesn’t function well in an emergency.

Testing your disaster recovery plan can involve things like making sure that your data is safely stored in the cloud. Plus, making sure that in case of a natural disaster your employees have access to data used in important business functions. One of the easiest ways to implement one is to start small by creating a plan that’s easy to follow and the scaling up from there.

What is Business Continuity?

35% of modern IT servers have a downtime tolerance of only 15 minutes. This means that if the servers are down there are only 15 minutes before there are significant data and productivity loss. These data losses can cost your company thousands and have a devastating effect on business. In fact, most businesses that lose their data center for more than a couple days file for bankruptcy within a year. This makes planning for a data outages important to ensure that your business survives.

How do you keep your business going when you’ve suffered massive service outage or a hard drive crash? And how can you make sure there’s no productivity loss in case of an emergency? Through business continuity planning. This term just means that you ensure that normal business activity continues even when there is an outage or an emergency.

Business continuity planning may sound simple and straightforward but like many aspects of data storage, it’s complexFor continuity planning to be effective, it must include almost every aspect of the business. Meaning that business continuity relies on coordination between different departments. These plans involve providing a safe place for employees to work in case of an emergency with access to uninterrupted data and assurance that network and computer systems are working. The primary function of these plans is to ensure that data downtimes no longer exist.

What Does a Business Continuity Plan Look Like?

Now you might be asking what does a business continuity plan look like?

A good example would be a law firm whose building was just flooded. Without a business continuity plan, the firm may lose days or even weeks worth of work. But if they had a business continuity plan they might have safely stored all their information in the cloud and have their employees work remotely. This differs from disaster recovery by focusing more on continuing business functions rather than protecting data and applications in case of an emergency.

Having these plans in place also helps you from a business perspective. Time lost even if it’s because of a disaster hurts your bottom line. And these losses may cost you when looking for investors. Having a continuity plan in place looks good for shareholders because it ensures that your company is still running even when other companies are losing money.

By having a continuity plan in place you help protect your business’s most important assets and its investors.

What Are Backups?

Backups are what they sound like, extra copies of data that can be accessed if something goes wrong with the servers. Backups allow you to have access to your data in case of an emergency. This focus on data is something that both backup and disaster recovery plans have in common.

The primary difference is that backup is a duplicate of the data while disaster recovery plans require completely replicating the production plan of your business. Backups also provide instant access to data while disaster recovery plans require access to the whole company. And backups are often less costly because then data recovery plans.

Backing up your companies data is an important part of data safety that must be completed daily to ensure that all information is updated. Performing a backup is a relatively simple routine that must be done daily. The main point is to meet the recovery point objective or the RPO. RPO refers to the interval of time that might pass before too much data is lost in a business.

Backups can help you ensure that your data is always up to date and that nothing valuable is lost.

Which One Works Best For Your Business?

Now that you understand the differences between data security methods which one is best for your business? Each of these methods has can benefit your business in different ways. A good business security plan will utilize all three data security options. Using each one provides complete safety for your company.

However, if you can only implement two of these methods the best option is to uses a data backup and recovery plan. This provides you the safety of data backup with the security of a disaster recovery plan. How do you implement these plans? There are many companies that offer backup and disaster recovery services. Thought these services can be expensive they offer excellent backup and disaster recovery solutions.

Want to Protect Your Data? We Can Help!

A data breach can cost your company millions.

You can avoid these damages by creating a disaster recovery plan. But as we’ve already shown these plans require a lot of coordination and experienced IT professionals that understand your business.

Luckily, we have tons of IT professionals that can help your business.

If you want to know how to make the perfect disaster recovery plan to ensure your company’s data is safe, contact us today!