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Business comes to a grinding halt when infrastructure fails, so it’s important to have disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place. These plans are closely related, but each play unique and important role in a business’s contingency planning. Although they seem similar, they cover different aspects of a business, and they are designed to work together and are often implemented at the same time following an outage.

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Disaster Recovery

Frequently backing up data is critical to your business, and the frequency of data backups will depend on your business’s needs. Today’s backup products are designed to make incremental copies of data throughout the day to minimize data loss. Regular backups protect your business against cyber attacks by allowing you to restore data to a point in time before a breach occurred without losing all data.

Disaster recovery is an area of security planning that aims to protect an organization from the effects of a disaster and allows organizations to maintain or quickly resume business-critical functions following a disaster. These solutions involve restoring IT infrastructure and accessing copies of data stored offsite.  The process includes planning and testing, and may involve a separate physical site for restoring operations. A disaster can be anything that puts a business’s operations at risk, including a cyber attack, equipment failures, natural disaster, and others.

Business Continuity

Business continuity refers to the processes that businesses have in place to ensure that normal business operations can continue during a disaster. This plan provides uninterrupted access to data during a time of crisis and involves making sure that network connections, online systems, phones, network drives, servers, and business applications run without downtime.

With risks ranging from cyber attacks to natural disasters to human error, it is critical for an organization to have a business continuity plan to decrease the chance of a costly outage. Unlike disaster recovery, which is data-centric, this plan is business-centric.

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Business continuity is the first defense against a disaster; however, disaster recovery is vital for businesses that cannot function without critical data. Outages are common and to ensure full business and data protection in the event of a disaster, businesses must adopt both plans.