Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity, are They Different?

If your business has a Disaster Recovery (DR) solution it’s Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planprepared for the worst, right? Well, not entirely. If your organization is not also equipped with an IT Business Continuity (BC) Plan, you’re only partially ready. Just because you have a DR plan, it doesn’t automatically mean that you have a full BC plan. While both strive to achieve the same goal, they are not interchangeable.

Recently, DSM encountered a situation with a client who had a DR plan but did not have a full BC plan; they didn’t realize there was a difference. In this situation, the location of hardware in the DR plan differed from where it needed to be in a full BC plan. For a proper BC plan they needed to make sure business data was accessible for all business functions. If their sites can’t access the servers, most of their business is still down. But because they have a managed services provider (MSP) they can leverage that offering to help implement a business continuity plan.

So, what are they?

Disaster Recovery Solution: This involves the actual work of getting the systems running after a disaster. Its focus is the restoration of IT functions and accessing backups. Part of a full DR plan is having a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) (how much time can pass during a disaster before it affects your Businesses Continuity Plan) and a Recovery Point Objective (RPO) (the amount of time in which a business function must be restored to avoid negative consequences or business continuity breaks).

For a DR solution to work properly the following elements are required for the company to run production: application back-end databases, application front ends, DNS, DHCP, active directory, mail services (in the cloud or run a server on site).

Additionally, all employees should know their role in the DR plan for it to be functional. DR is a piece of BC but isn’t all of it. A full BC plan needs to be put in place to ensure the business remains operational during and after a disaster.

Business Continuity Plan:  BC planning takes a lot of preparation to ensure that when a disaster strikes, critical business functions (the true continuity of the business) remain live. Each business will have different functions that are considered critical, and figuring out what those are is part of the process. Typically included in an effective plan is ensuring business applications, phones, network connections, servers and network drives remain active with no downtime. Additional components of Business Continuity Management include data backup, disaster recovery plans, emergency power sources, and hot sites with operational workstations (your employees will need a place to work if the main work site in non-operational).

The Takeaway

You can have a DR plan without a BC plan, but you can’t have a BC plan without a DR plan. While these two plans are similar in nature, they are both required for full protection during and after a disaster. It can take some time to compile an all-inclusive business continuity plan, so don’t procrastinate. A reputable managed services provider can prove valuable by simplifying both projects and helping business’ make effective use of their time. A disaster could be right around the corner, and to remain operational your business must be prepared.

The DSM Difference

You don’t have to do it alone. DSM, Florida’s predictable cloud provider, can help bridge the gap and act as a trusted adviser in protecting your business. We can provide a disaster recovery solution (DRaaS) and help ensure that your business continuity plan for IT is fully thought-out. It is a long-term process and DSM will be there to guide you. When you’re ready to speak with an expert about your business’ IT continuity plan, reach out, we’ll be here.

Related posts