Understanding the difference between data backups and an appropriate disaster recovery plan is crucial to supporting business continuity and creating a reliable workplace infrastructure.

Let’s start by defining each item:

The primary goal of any disaster recovery plan is to ensure business continuity by maintaining critical infrastructure functions and data before, during, and after a disastrous event.

Let’s take a look at the difference between data backups and disaster recovery plans in three categories:

The requirements and strategy of retaining and restoring your data

Those without a disaster recovery plan in place typically perform data backups on a daily basis. This helps to ensure data retention at a single location for recovery. A disaster recovery plan takes your data backups one step further by creating an effective strategy detailing how to put those data silos into action in the event of a disastrous event.

Your business may already have a backup approach implemented, but a disaster recovery plan means having answers to the most important questions in the event of your worst-case scenario:

    • Who is in charge of restoring your business applications?
    • Which applications take priority over others?

Defining an RTO (recovery time objective) policy

    • How much data loss and/or downtime before significant harm is done to your business

Identifying your RPO (recovery point objective)

    • How will you handle your customers while you work on getting your infrastructure operational?
        This and many other items are the differences between a standard backup plan and comprehensive disaster recovery initiative.

The ability to sustain business continuity

Backing up your data is essential, there is no getting around that. If you’re not doing it, contact us and we’ll help get you started.

One thing to keep in mind is that backing up your data is only useful in the event you need to immediately restore a document or a group of files. Disaster recovery is about creating a process to ensure that your business doesn’t miss a beat in the event of a catastrophe. This means ensuring optimal business continuity by creating a clone of your primary infrastructure that you can use as an alternate environment in case your systems and applications are suddenly compromised.

Remember, having a backup of your files is great, but they’re not going to do you any good if you can’t access them!

A recipe for restoration after the damage has been done

For most businesses, once a data backup is implemented it’s generally not revisited until it’s needed. The task of restoring files is typically handled in an ad hoc manner through help desk tickets, restoring from external drives, or other forms of requests.

This might be acceptable at some levels, but it must come with an understanding that files may be incorrect versions, and some may not be recoverable at all.

A disaster recovery plan means creating an extensive flowchart that assigns the tasks necessary for restoring operations to the members of your team. You’ll define proper RTOs and RPOs to maximize your business continuity while having guidelines in place so everyone in your organization knows what to expect when an event occurs.

Understanding the differences is the beginning to creating a more effective infrastructure.

We’ve only just touched on the basics of disaster recovery. To learn more or take the first step towards properly preparing your business contact us about our Xerox Managed IT Services program.