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Disaster Recovery vs. Business Continuity: Why You Need Both
Any business that wishes to stay successful must have strong disaster preparedness. As this past year has shown us, sudden disruptions can come from anywhere, and if you are not prepared, your business can quickly fail.
Typically, organizations will create a disaster recovery or business continuity plan to prepare for catastrophes. Any event that significantly disrupts your operations qualifies as a disaster or catastrophe.
Many people use the terms ‘disaster recovery’ and ‘business continuity’ interchangeably to refer to disaster preparedness in general. Others focus solely on one plan over the other.
However, these two concepts are very different yet equally important. To ensure that your business can weather any disaster, you should have a master strategy that combines disaster recovery and business continuity.
Business Continuity
Business continuity focuses on keeping your business running in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Disruptions to your operations can be devastating, and continuity is meant to guide your organization through an ongoing disaster.
A business continuity strategy is designed to avoid downtime as much as possible. Any time that your operations are paused, you lose money. You have to continue paying operating costs like employee salaries while you are unable to earn profits.
A well-drafted plan will also include instructions for employees during emergencies. Rather than having your employees confused and worried, they have a resource that provides answers to their questions.
Many businesses create multiple continuity plans for different emergencies, as each disaster requires a different response. For example, you would have a separate strategy for a natural disaster than for a network outage.
With a business continuity plan, you are focusing on guiding your team through the disaster. However, for long-term recuperation, you need a disaster recovery strategy.
Disaster Recovery
Disaster recovery focuses on recovering from catastrophes in the long run. This strategy guides your organization through the steps necessary to resume normal operations.
Recovery might include restoring lost data, rebuilding infrastructure, and other technological restoration. Disaster recovery is designed for the period after the disaster has been resolved and your business is ready to return to normal.
The Difference Between the Two
While business continuity gets you through the event, disaster recovery aids you in rebuilding. Continuity lets you weather the storm, and recovery guides you to land once the storm has ended.
Additionally, continuity is typically more focused on employees and the people within your organization, whereas recovery is centered around technology. You need your team to get through the disaster, but once they are through, they can usually go back to their everyday work.
In the immediate time after a catastrophe, technology is only important insofar as it supports continuity. Once the disaster is over, you can then begin to rebuild technology and address damage to your system.
Continuity helps you continue operations until the disaster is over, and recovery guides you through rebuilding. If you hope to emerge relatively unscathed after a disaster, you need to include both concepts in your overall strategy.
The Importance of Both
Businesses need to include both disaster recovery and business continuity in their catastrophe preparedness strategy. Each concept covers a different aspect of preparation, and without both, you could be setting yourself up for failure.
If you overlook continuity, your business is unlikely to survive a disaster. You will not have the plans or protocols in place to continue your operations. You could go bankrupt, lose clients, damage your reputation, or experience all three.
If you overlook recovery, you might survive a disaster, but you will have a tough time resuming normal operations. You will not have a strategy in place to guide you back to where you were before the catastrophe occurred.
To avoid these issues, you need to incorporate both concepts in your preparations. Some organizations choose to do so by including recovery within their continuity plans. This means that they might begin rebuilding right after the disaster.
However, focusing on recovery immediately may take attention away from continuity. If you choose to use this method, you need to ensure that continuity and recovery are of equal importance in your plan.
Another option is to combine the two into a single disaster preparedness plan. You have a master document that encompasses every aspect of your strategy, from prevention to mitigation and response.
This method is more comprehensive than other continuity plans as it covers every step of a disaster, including prevention. The best way to recover from a catastrophe is to prevent one from occurring in the first place.
However you decide to structure your strategy, you need to include continuity and recovery if you hope to succeed in the long-term.
Final Thoughts
A strong recovery and continuity strategy helps get your business back to normal operations as soon as possible after a disaster. You can prevent, prepare for, and recover from catastrophes.
How Can AlleoTech Help?
We are a team of IT Professionals and we understand how vital your business is to you. At AlleoTech, we can audit your existing disaster recovery plan or build you a brand new one.
Contact us today and speak with one of our experts on a free discovery call.
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