Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity are two essential concepts for the survival and success of an organization in the face of unforeseen situations. Unlike insurance, which aims to obtain compensation to cover a loss, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity aim to quickly recover from an incident and continue business, avoiding significant disruptions and associated losses.
Although both terms seem to have similar objectives, there are significant differences in their approach, goals and methods of implementation. Depending on the nature of the activity, digital exposure and business objectives, each organization will create its own Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans.
What is Disaster Recovery:
Disaster Recovery (DR) refers to the process of restoring IT systems and data after a disaster or major incident has occurred that may affect the normal functioning of an organization. This type of recovery is primarily aimed at minimizing downtime and ensuring that mission-critical data is protected and quickly available.
Among the common situations that require a Disaster Recovery approach would be a cyber attack that affects the integrity of data or a major hardware failure that leads to the unavailability of systems.
For example, if an organization suffers a ransomware attack that encrypts all data, a Disaster Recovery plan should provide a mechanism for quickly restoring data from backups to minimize the impact on operations. If you are exposed to such risks, it would also help to read: 3 reasons why Disaster Recovery must be a real priority for Romanian companies
What does Business Continuity mean:
Business Continuity (BC) is a more comprehensive approach to ensuring business continuity throughout the organization, regardless of the nature of the incident. This concept involves planning and implementing measures to enable the organization to continue operating in crisis situations, so as to avoid or minimize disruptions, whether or not they are technology-driven. A company’s activity can also be disrupted by the blocking of a supply line, the loss of a supplier, the failure of a major means of production, the unavailability of the headquarters, etc.
For example, in the event of a natural disaster such as a major earthquake, a Business Continuity plan would involve ensuring that not only data and IT systems are recovered, but also human resources, facilities and operational processes are ready to continue operating in another location or in an alternative way.
You may remember how in 2021 the three-month blockade of the Suez Canal led to major delays in the delivery of products to Europe and multi-billion financial losses to global trade.
Key differences between Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity:
- Disaster Recovery (DR): The primary objective of DR is the rapid restoration of IT systems and data to a functional state in the event of a disaster or major incident. It focuses on technology and minimizing downtime.
- Business Continuity (BC): The main objective of BC is to ensure that the entire organization can maintain its operations regardless of the type of incident. It focuses on operations, processes, people and resources and aims to minimize the impact on the entire organization.
- Disaster Recovery (DR): The main priority in DR is to restore IT systems and data in the shortest possible time to reduce data and productivity losses. The key elements are backup and redundancy.
- Business Continuity (BC): The main priority in BC is to ensure the continuity of critical operations and minimize the financial and reputational impact on the organization.
People and departments involved:
- Disaster Recovery (DR): The DR team often consists of IT specialists, network administrators, database administrators, and other technology experts.
- Business Continuity (BC): BC involves a wider range of departments and staff, including senior managers, human resources, operational departments and risk management staff.
- Disaster Recovery (DR): The main components of DR include backup and restore systems, recovery plans, data replication, and recovery testing procedures.
- Business Continuity (BC): The main components of BC include business continuity plans, business impact analyses, relocation plans, employee communication plans, and business continuity testing plans.
The Interdependence of Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Although Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity have different goals and approaches, they are closely interconnected and complement each other. Within Business Continuity, organizations must identify all potential risks that may affect operations. This includes both technological risks (such as hardware failures or cyber attacks) and non-technological risks (such as natural disasters or personnel crises).
Therefore, in practice, Disaster Recovery is often considered as a sub-component of business continuity plans. Most experts believe that Business Continuity plans should include Disaster Recovery plans to handle the technical aspects of data and systems restoration. On the other hand, Disaster Recovery plans should be developed and implemented within a Business Continuity strategy to ensure that all operational and resource aspects are taken into account.
Obviously, there are nuances depending on the specifics of the activity, and intense digitization makes putting technology back into operation a priority for most companies. If once a company’s headquarters were vital to its operation, today, when everyone works remotely, access to data and IT systems are synonymous with resuming business. This is also the reason why more and more companies opt for M247 Disaster Recovery as a Service, the simplest solution for reducing the risks associated with the operation of the technology.
From M247’s perspective, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity complement each other and are vital to any organization’s survival and success in the face of unforeseen incidents. By understanding the essential differences between them and implementing an integrated approach, organizations can ensure continuity of operations and minimize the impact of unexpected events, regardless of their nature.