The terms backup, disaster recovery and business continuity are often used interchangeably. This can leave people feeling confused and grouping them all under the general umbrella of data protection. In reality, they present subtle differences with significant impacts on your ability to protect your business against downtime. Understanding these differences is essential.
Backup in its simplest form
Backup relates to creating copies of your data which are replicated to another device or location. This can be through tape, offsite backup or even USB. Most businesses have some form of backup but this does not necessarily mean their data is fully protected. Backup is the first step of the process but should be considered in the context of disaster recovery.
Disaster recovery relates to your ability to recover files, software and functionality quickly, easily and without corruption in the case of a disaster. This could be a natural disaster such as fire or flood, but is more likely to be a hardware failure, human error or software failure. Such an event could leave you waiting for hardware to be shipped, software to be installed, data to be transferred and personal settings to be configured, taking hours or even days. This raises a very pertinent question; how long could your business be down for without seriously affecting your profitability?
All encompassing business continuity
Business continuity relates to the ability of your business to continue operating even after a major disaster, be it data loss, system failure or network connectivity outage. Business continuity cannot be achieved through a single solution, requiring both backup and disaster recovery to work effectively. This should be viewed in the context of your business’ tolerance for downtime and should form the basis of a business continuity plan.
Benefits of a robust business continuity plan
- Minimal downtime
- Improved productivity and profitability
- Ability to work from any device any time
- Protection of business reputation
- Peace of mind
Understanding the different layers of protection available and matching them to your business needs is important. A backup strategy may provide lower monthly costs but will never deliver the desired outcomes if true business continuity is required.