Companies of all sizes need to implement business continuity and disaster recovery plans to ensure the future of the company. IT professionals need to understand what the terms means as it relates to IT, the business, and why both plans are vital to the continued growth of any company.
Disaster recovery is a very specific set of policies, procedures and processes related to the information technology systems within the company. The policies, procedures and processes are used when a natural disaster, human error or man-made disaster strikes and results in the potential loss of important data.
Depending on the particular disaster that occurs, plans can vary slightly to meet the damages and ensure that systems are able to continue running despite the challenges. For example, the IT team within a company might set up a storage area network, or SAN, that can failover to a secondary site for a period of days or even weeks while the primary site is replaced or eventually brought back online.
Disaster recovery is a plan and procedure to protect vital systems and data in the event of an event that otherwise would destroy data or take critical systems offline unexpectedly. It is a proactive measure to prepare an organization for recovering from a disaster.
Business continuity is a term that relates to the company as a whole rather than an area of the company. The term refers to the daily actions a company must take to ensure it runs continuously in the event of a disaster or unexpected event.
While business continuity is applied throughout the entire company, such as providing customer support or working on project management, it directly applies to the IT team as well. Business continuity that is applied to technology systems within a company is the daily activities that help keep the system running smoothly. For example, contracting with a 3rd party for offices space, internet, and access to critical systems for company employees in the event of a disaster would be part of a business continuity plan. Companies that provide business continuity services have off premise and on premise solutions that include mobile trailers with desktops or access to 3rd party offices.
Differences: Business Continuity vs. Disaster Recovery
Business continuity and disaster recovery are an important part of running a business. The two plans are really two parts of a complete solution because it each focuses on a different area of getting the business back up and running.
The business continuity plan is concerned with the daily actions a team or company takes to ensure an organization’s people and systems will be capable of keeping up with the company needs after a disaster. In contrast, disaster recovery is the specific plan of action and process of so the company is able to recover from the disaster or other catastrophic event.
Creating and implementing disaster recovery and business continuity plans is vital to running a company. Each plan helps a company be prepared for the worst scenarios.