Know the difference between disaster recovery plan and business continuity plan

by | Sep 14, 2016 | Business Continuity

Understand the difference between disaster recovery plan and business continuity plan

People often use the terms disaster recovery and business continuity planning interchangeably, but while these two terms are similar, they describe two different approaches businesses take to bounce back in the event of a disaster. So what is the difference between disaster recovery plan and business continuity plan? According to Dell, a business continuity plan is a strategy businesses put in place to continue operating with minimal disruption in the event of a disaster. A disaster recovery plan is more specific. It’s a plan to “restore the data and applications that run your business should your data center, servers or other infrastructure get damaged or destroyed.”

Why Both Are Important

Businesses face a wide variety of threats that can impede their ability to function. According to Secure-24, these could result from natural disasters like fires, floods, tornados, earthquakes or hurricanes. There are also many man-made threats like industrial sabotage, workplace violence or cyber attacks. Without both a business continuity plan and a disaster recovery plan in place, businesses face dire consequences. Half of all businesses that experience a major disaster “never return to the marketplace.” Of businesses that are involved in a major fire, 70 percent “fail within 3 years.” By focusing on both business continuity and disaster recovery planning, you can ensure your business can withstand these challenges.

Business Continuity Planning

A business continuity plan is a broad plan to keep a business up and running in the event of a disaster. It focuses on the business as a whole. With business continuity planning, you’re focusing on the things the business needs up and running first in order to conduct regular business. If the plan is followed correctly, businesses should be able to continue to provide services to customers during or immediately after a disaster with minimal disruption. The plan also focuses on the needs of business partners and vendors.

A business continuity plan is a written document that lists the business’ essential functions. According to TechTarget, these are things like a list of critical supplies, employee contact information, a list of crucial business functions or copies of important records. Basically, the business continuity plan includes all the necessary information to get the business up and running as soon as possible.

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Disaster Recovery Planning

A disaster recovery plan is a focused, specific part of the business continuity plan. According to Data Center Knowledge, a disaster recovery plan is designed to save “data with the sole purpose of being able to recover it in the event of a disaster.” For this reason, disaster recovery planning is usually focused on the needs of the IT department. Depending on the type of disaster, the plan could involve everything from recovering a small data set to the loss of an entire data center. Since many businesses are increasingly reliant on information technology, the disaster recovery plan is an important part of business continuity planning.

One of the best strategies in disaster recovery planning is to keep all of your data backed up on a server at a secondary site. This way, if a disaster occurs at the primary site, a backup of all vital data is available. A good disaster recovery plan will allow you to access data from the secondary site quickly. Obviously, if a disaster occurs at the primary site, you will not have access to your data until it can be recovered from the secondary site. The quality of your disaster recovery plan is “dependent on the planning, infrastructure and processes that are set forth and tested.”

If you’d like to learn more about business continuity planning, disaster recovery planning or how both strategies can benefits your business, contact us.

Dale Shulmistra is a Business Continuity Specialist at Invenio IT, responsible for shaping the company’s technology initiatives -- selecting, designing, implementing & supporting business continuity solutions to bolster client operational efficiencies and eliminate downtime.