When it comes to planning for the future, business continuity and disaster recovery are both vital for any enterprise. Whether your organisation is hit with a cyber attack, or responding to a physical event, if you don’t have any strategic planning in place then the outcomes can be catastrophic. Business continuity and disaster recovery are two ends of the same spectrum - and if you’re going to ensure a comprehensive approach for your business then you need to have both.
Business continuity and disaster recovery
Any organisation looking to be prepared for any disruption to business as usual needs to have business continuity and disaster recovery planning in place. Business continuity is the way an enterprise will operate during a disaster, and also afterwards. It could include contingency plans, such as moving to a different office, as well as what needs to happen to keep the business ticking over if follow up events occur. Disaster recovery, on the other hand, is the process of responding to a specific catastrophic event and getting the business back to a safe and operational place as quickly as possible.
Business continuity vs disaster recovery
There are some key differences between business continuity and disaster recovery that are essential to appreciate:
- Business continuity - focused on keeping a business operational during an event - the main goal for business continuity is to limit operational downtime. Likely to involve ensuring communication lines stay open, for example, and that the business remains open in some capacity no matter what is happening.
- Disaster recovery - focused on restoring data access and IT infrastructure after an event so that an organisation can return to full functionality even after a disaster has occured.. May involve a number of safety measures. The goal is to ensure employee protection and limit abnormal or inefficient system function.
Why business continuity and disaster recovery are both vital
- A proactive approach to uncertainty. Together, business continuity and disaster recovery represent a proactive strategy that will ensure an enterprise is prepared for any sudden disruption or disaster. Whether that’s a terrorist attack or a pandemic, ensuring that these strategies are in place will help to minimise the impact of the event before it even happens.
- Avoiding catastrophic consequences. When a disaster occurs, consequences can quickly follow, which is why it’s so vital to have the clear roadmap that business continuity and disaster recovery can provide. Financial loss is one of the biggest risks in these circumstances - if there is no business continuity planning in place, for example, then delivery of products and services may stop and the business will begin to lose money as a result. Other potential consequences include the loss of sensitive data via a data breach that could lead to fines and reputational damage if not contained.
- Providing peace of mind. Although it may not be possible to predict what’s going to happen to the business, being prepared for any outcome with business continuity and disaster recovery planning will provide peace of mind to management and staff.
From minimising financial loss to avoiding data loss, there are many reasons why both business continuity and disaster recovery are vital to every enterprise today.