The Difference Between Backup, Disaster Recovery And Business Continuity

If you think “data backup” is synonymous with “disaster recovery” and aren’t sure what “business continuity” means, you’re not alone. Most of the business owners we talk to make the mistake of not knowing the difference and end up paying the price when data is lost, a network goes down or a disaster prevents them from accessing their physical office and the server inside.

First, data backup simply means a copy of your data is replicated to another device or location. Tape drives, offsite backup and even USB devices provide data backup. Data backup is obviously important. However, the more important consideration is whether or not your backup solution provides easy disaster recovery, or the ability for you to recover all your files, software and functionality quickly, easily and without corruption. For example, if your server died, you wouldn’t be able to quickly get back to work if you only had file-level backup. In order for you to start working again, your server would need to be replaced, all software re-installed, data re-installed and then the whole system would need to be configured with your settings and preferences. This process could take hours or even days – and that’s if you have all your software licenses and a clean copy of your data.

Then there’s business continuity. This is the ability for your business to continue to operate even after a major disaster. For example, if you ran an accounting firm and your building burned to the ground, you’d be out of business if all your files were on the server only. However, if you had your network in the cloud (see our first article) your employees could continue to work from home or some other location, giving your business continuity.

Of course, you need all three at some level. At a minimum you need to make sure you have in place the right backup and disaster recovery plan for your tolerance for downtime, and a plan for how your business could continue to operate if you could no longer access your building, server or data. You should review your plan annually. If you want a simple and easy way to get all of this handled, give us a call! We specialize in planning, implementing and managing these projects so you don’t have to.