Brittany Lutke Business Continuity vs. Disaster Recovery

October 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

There tends to be an emphasis in the IT world to talk disaster recovery to death. Confession: we might be guilty of this. Because we work with technology and data, day in and day out, sometimes it’s easy to forget the other functions involved in businesses. While we hate to admit it, the other functions outside of IT, such as operations, finance, sales, human relations, and marketing, can be just as important as technology. Disaster recovery best practices dictate that plans are created to backup and restore technology assets, but the rest of your business should have a backup plan too.

This brings up the question, what is the difference between disaster recovery and business continuity? Disaster recovery is what the CIO considers. It covers how an organization can secure and restore its technology assets, in the case of an act of god or even worse, mayhem. Business continuity, on the other hand, considers EVERYTHING that an organization must do in order to resume operations following a disaster.

As a visual person, I began creating a Venn diagram, highlighting the similarities and differences between disaster recovery and business continuity. Back and forth, left and right, I detailed the finer points of each.

Modern Family Disaster Recovery versus Business Continuity

After some time, a light bulb went off. Circles couldn’t effectively communicate the relationship between these disaster recovery and business continuity. I needed squares.

Business Continuity versus Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery is a subset of business continuity. While the two have similarities and differences, it is more accurate to consider them as the same concept applied at different scales.  Business continuity contains ALL your backup plans, from your location to your communication plans and all the other crucial details that ensure your business operations will continue following a crisis. Of course, this includes technology. Disaster recovery covers the technology facet of business continuity.

Ultimately, I hope you remember that disaster recovery isn’t enough. It’s a piece of the preparation puzzle, but your business cannot be fully protected without a thorough business continuity plan.

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