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Strategy | 3 min read

Business Continuity vs. Disaster Recovery

Jeff Dotzler
Written by Jeff Dotzler

Business system downtime can occur in a variety of ways. However, a recent survey found that the most frequent source of downtime was due to system crashes, followed by other sources such as human error, cyberattacks and insider attacks.   

Business continuity management and disaster recovery are two frequently used terms in both IT and business management. While they each have distinct definitions, they are both critical components of a robust, comprehensive IT strategy.  

In this article, we’ll dive in to discover the meaning behind both of these concepts, how they can work together as a part of your overall IT strategy and when it might be time to enlist the services of an expert managed IT provider to create plans that will fit the needs of your business. Let’s get started! 

Article Contents 

What is Business Continuity? 

Business continuity typically relates to a business having a continuity solution in place. In the event of a disruption to everyday business operations (e.g., network outage, security breach or other crisis), this plan will be enacted with a goal of reestablishing operations and getting back to “business as usual” as soon as possible.  

Creating a business continuity Plan (BCP) should include discussions between management and staff to gain a full understanding of what is needed in performing everyday activities. Plans should include the following: 

  • Data Backups including cloud solutions and virtual servers so you can quickly retrieve data and have all systems back up and running quickly.  
  • Legal & Government Regulation Compliance protocols in place to  ensure your managed IT provider is keeping everything current and secure.  
  • Email Recovery to ensure email can be remotely accessed and effectively restored. 
  • Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) for proactively protecting server management.  
  • Role Identification to know who is responsible for various functions, from employee communication to client notification.  
  • Testing to ensure all protocols and processes will work properly.  

Once these elements are defined, it’s essential to identify individuals who will be in charge of each part of your planned solution and to test your solution on a regular basis to ensure that all critical business functions are covered.  

In addition, virtual servers are often used to get a network back in working order as quickly as possible. Cloud-based virtual servers could get your network back to normal within a matter of hours. In contrast, traditional physical data backup methods may take days to install.   

What is Disaster Recovery? 

A disaster recovery solution is a formal plan consisting of documented step-by-step instructions and protocols. An organization will access its disaster recovery solution if normal operations have been negatively impacted or unexpected downtime has occurred. This plan is designed to include processes and strategies that will minimize disruption and return operations back to normal as quickly as possible. 

This solution explains how you are going to recover your data and systems after a business disruption. It will contain details about how to best reconnect to your applications, data and IT resources after a natural or man-made disaster.  

An industry standard in disaster recovery is the 3-2-1 rule. This states that an organization should maintain three copies of current data using two different types of media and sending one of the backups to be stored offsite or in the cloud. The following steps should be included in your IT disaster recovery plan: 

  1. Identify Potential Threats 
  2. Determine Potential Outcomes 
  3. Outline Goals and Procedure 
  4. Complete a Comprehensive Inventory 
  5. Assign Clear Responsibilities 
  6. Develop a Communication Plan
  7. Conduct Regular Reviews and Testing

Similar to business continuity plans, disaster recovery plans should be simulated on a regular basis to ensure that all details are covered. If any holes are discovered, update for future reference.  

RELATED: How a Proactive IT Approach Can Prevent Ransomware Attacks 

Working Together: Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery 

Business continuity and disaster recovery solutions are needed for data security. While they both are used in the event of data loss, business continuity plans provide an outline explaining what to do and who will be in charge. Disaster recovery plans give details on how things will be done to recover from the event and work back towards normal operations.  

Being prepared is the best defense against network disruptions. Otherwise, your business could be quickly losing money as your staff scrambles to reestablish working order.  

RELATED: 10 Proven Ways to Secure a Computer Network 

How a Managed IT Provider Can Help 

Network threats are lurking everywhere, but working with an expert Managed IT provider can help you be prepared. Elevity has the skill and experience you need to create business continuity and disaster recovery plans to fit your organization.  

Forward-thinking organizations, such as yours, have partnered with Elevity to elevate how they approach Managed IT and create an action plan that embraces technology strategies, security solutions and support.  

We work with organizations of all sizes, however, many of our SMB clients enjoy our virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) services. A vCIO is a cost-effective way for SMBs to leverage a specialized technological skill set without the hefty cost. Want to learn more? Download your complimentary copy of our handy infographic, Top 7 Benefits of a vCIO.

7 Benefits of a Virtual CIO (vCIO)

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