The Non-Overly Technical Guide
You’ve worked hard building your business into what it is today. Blood, sweat, and a whole lot of tears are caked into its foundation, so there’s no way you’re going to let a little thing like a power outage, cyberattack, hurricane, or tornado take your business permanently offline. That’s why you’ve done your due diligence and are likely quite familiar with the terms “Disaster Recovery” and “Business Continuity.” Problem is, these words have been used so often (and sometimes interchangeably) that their distinct meanings have become muddled. That’s why we wanted to take a minute to clear the matter up, in plain English, so you can tell the difference between the two and determine if you have adequate plans in place.
BC, DR, WTF?
First things first: Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery are NOT the same thing. They are related and connected, but they are not the same.
Business Continuity = a proactive plan to continue business operations
Disaster Recovery = a reactive plan for accessing required technology and infrastructure after a disaster or outage
Disaster Recovery focuses on the information or technology systems that support your business functions. Business Continuity, on the other hand, involves planning for keeping all aspects of your business operational during (or in the aftermath of) any unforeseen event. See the difference? A DR plan focuses on how to restore your company data, technology, infrastructure, systems, and applications. DR will ensure your employees can quickly access their files, folders, email, servers, presentations, and anything else that’s vital to keeping customers happy and your business afloat.
While Disaster Recovery is concerned with restoring business information and technology, a Business Continuity plan accounts for the continued operation of employees, buildings, third-party contracts, IT systems, and physical infrastructure. If a natural disaster prevents one of your distributors from fulfilling customer orders, do you have an alternate plan to continue your service in the affected area? That’s the type of business service and production continuity questions BC should address. Disaster Recovery is simply a subset of Business Continuity. For help creating a comprehensive BC plan for your business, view our prior blog post.
The Right Approach to Putting Them Together
If you have a business, you need a Business Continuity plan. Simple as that. And you can’t have a Business Continuity plan without Disaster Recovery, so let’s make sure we get that squared away before it’s too late. For a cost-effective, secure approach to BC and DR, more and more growing businesses are turning to the cloud. Backing up company data to the cloud is a natural choice for businesses without the luxury of an IT staff or expert security consultant. Cloud backup also saves you from having to invest in costly hardware and employing professionals to manage and maintain storage servers. When your data is backed up to the cloud and your communications function via the cloud, you can quickly and easily continue business from any new location with an internet connection in an emergency scenario. Should the time come when your business is down, it pays to have a managed solutions provider you can count on to assist with Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity.