07-29-20 | Blog Post

Business Continuity vs Disaster Recovery: Key differences

Blog Posts

History provides examples of tens of thousands of business disasters of all types and consequences scattered across the past decade. To site a few recent examples, in 2019, Google experience an outage that affected Gmail and Google Drive globally, Southwest airlines experienced a data center outage that briefly grounded flights, and China Telecom experienced a network outage that impacted Apple, Microsoft and AWS. The China Telecom incident illustrates the important lesson that probably both the supplier and their customers needed to activate disaster recovery plans. Were the respective disaster recovery plans part of a business continuity plan or separate?

This is where it’s important to differentiate these two business critical items. Disaster recovery focuses on restoring network, infrastructure, and the operations that support them. Business continuity focuses on the ability of the organization to continue to function as normal when faced with potentially disruptive incidents.

The Business Continuity Plan’s Most Critical Partner: Cloud

 The process of creating a business continuity plan includes assessing/documenting all critical business processes and data, determining requirements and governance for retention and restoral of data and processes, defining and assigning the level of business risk associated with specific data loss or interrupted processes, and finally, documenting risk prevention strategies and recovery process for each element. The result is an actionable blue print for business survivability. Each and every high-risk business element must be considered for consequences of disruption, disaster, asset loss, personnel actions, and the ever-present nefarious activities. With predictions like this from the Wall Street Journal: “80% of enterprise IT will move to the cloud by 2025” it is wise to look at your own business continuity planning in relationship to increased cloud usage and understand the benefits of cloud based business continuity.

Business Continuity Lessons from the Pandemic

This year introduced some new variables and valuable lessons for business continuity in today’s evolving environment. The pandemic caused business to expand its boundaries in ways not previously imagined and deliver new environments and processes on the fly. While most every business has made record of these massive changes, the new business continuity plan should include work from home requirements and workspaces, physical equipment requirements for a distributed workforce, remote access requirements, training, collaboration workspaces, and IT and service desk preparation including improved monitoring and security requirements.

Cloud Based Business continuity

This is where we bring disaster recovery, data backup, and business continuity together. Disaster recovery and data backup, within the risk-identified parameters of a business continuity plan, make up the backbone of business continuity. Disaster recovery and data backup are the keys to expedient business restoral which impacts the primary measure of business continuity, downtime and its business and revenue impacts. Here are some of the ways that cloud based business continuity positively impacts your business:

  • Anytime, anywhere access: Via secure and authenticated internet access.
  • Recovery Point Objective: RPO, a critical measurement in Business continuity, is an available SLA in cloud services that provides the same or better service levels than what are obtainable in a private data center.
  • Ease of backup and restoral: Based upon risk assessment, various types and timings of backup can be implemented globally. Restoration is typically much more expedient, reliable, and with no dependency on legacy systems like tapes or disks. Available cloud geo redundancy further reduces risk and data retention timing is customer selectable.
  • Reduced costs: Users choose the service levels and capacities they require at an affordable subscription price (Opex.) Services are dynamic and expandable to support changes in the Business continuity document or to provide immediate changes in the event of a crisis. Fully managed business continuity and disaster recovery services provide 24/7/365 coverage thereby reducing IT support requirements.
  • Compliant: Your business continuity plan will need to consider all compliance regulations. Assure your cloud vendor is fully certified as compliant in the regulations you adhere to — a business disaster doesn’t reduce the businesses requirement to be compliant.

One last note about your business continuity plan: SaaS plays a vital role for many businesses today. SaaS providers, as previously noted, also have outages which can impact your business. Assure that your business continuity plan considers potential SaaS outages; those applications are essential to many of your business-critical processes.

Looking for help developing your business continuity plan, disaster recovery plan, or understanding the impacts of cloud based DR? Otava can help. Our experts can help you create and execute a DR runbook and plan, design and architect your recovery environment, and even manage it for you, all with Disaster Recovery as a Service, powered by Zerto. If you’re ready to put your organization, large or small, into a high state of IT resiliency contact us to get started today.

Related Blogs

Disaster Recovery and Business continuity in the remote workforce environment: In the decades-long evolution of the remote worker, policy, data protection, security and compliance all kept pace with the rollout of users and applications. Today, there is a new and onerous dimension added to this evolution, the mass and immediate deployments of multitudes of new home workers due to the current global pandemic.

Disaster Recovery lessons we all can learn: Disaster recovery may be simplified these days, but there are still important lessons to learn when it comes to managing your DR strategy.

Ransomware attacks up in 2020, How to protect yourself: Ransomware, the devastating cybercrime that locks people and corporations out of their files and demands money for their safe return, continues to rise.

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