Most businesses make this mistake – thinking that backing up your data equals having a full disaster recovery plan. If your business thinks this way, this article is a must-read.
Data backup and disaster recovery are not the same. Backing up business files and programs typically stores and archives your data and is not very useful in an outage. It is just one of the many things you need for a complete disaster recovery plan, and quickly recovering data from your backups is what good disaster recovery is about. To understand the difference between simply having a data backup solution and having a complete disaster recovery plan, it’s important to take a closer look at these two concepts.
What Is Data Backup?
Having a backup of your data means duplicating the important files stored somewhere different from the one you are using in your business’s day-to-day operations. There’s an option to back up a few select files, but it’s also possible to save a copy of the business’s entire database. The information you saved will remain in the second storage environment until you update or delete it. The latest version of the files will serve as the backup and can be retrieved by the business in case the files in the primary storage incur damage or are rendered unusable.
If anything happens to the files in the primary database, the business can use a copy of the files saved in the secondary database. When this happens, you might lose all your progress since the most recent backup version. You should also be prepared if your IT environment is lost because of a ransomware attack or disaster. To do so, businesses typically back up to the cloud or another offsite storage. This is why, to this day, the 3-2-1 backup is still a great practice.
What Is Disaster Recovery?
Disaster recovery involves complete and extensive planning, preparation, and response. With the click of a button, a good disaster recovery solution allows you to run your business should of all your IT environment goes down. This endeavor typically involves the use of a local and offsite backup appliance solution where you can duplicate not only the company’s files but also all the digital assets needed to ensure business continuity. These include the programs and applications that your staff members use to carry out their work, the digital working environments they are familiar with, and other IT and computing resources that the business might need to maintain its operations.
At its heart, disaster recovery is about ensuring that your business data is protected from both man-made and natural disasters, ensuring that data is easily recoverable and usable in case of an unexpected event. It aims to ensure that a business has access to its critical functionalities before and during a disaster and can continue operations after the incident. With a proper disaster recovery plan in place, your business can avoid—or at the very least minimize—the disruptions caused by natural disasters, property crimes, cyberattacks, or human errors.
Securing Your Business against the Effects of Disasters
It takes more than restoring your old files to ensure your business can continue its operations. On top of having access to a copy of your documents, you also need to be able to use the processes, IT systems, and digital environments that enabled you to make and maintain those files in the first place. In this sense, simply backing up your data can prove to be inadequate in securing business continuity.
A business that is fully prepared for unexpected outages and failures must have access to a disaster recovery solution with these features, at the very least:
- Instant Recovery Function – A disaster recovery solution must be easily accessible and prepared for deployment at any time. It should be ready to run whenever the business needs it to and offer the business a simple and straightforward means of activating it as soon as the need arises.
- Archive Storage Capabilities – The solution should support long-term migration and storage. It must allow the business to revert its files and programs to their earlier versions whenever necessary.
- Automated Testing Options – Businesses expect their disaster recovery solutions to be always reliable. If a solution is subjected to regular and automated testing, it can be relied on to fulfill its intended role whenever needed.
An effective disaster recovery plan requires a data backup solution and functionalities. That is why it is quite common for businesses to select an all-in-one solution, like what Quorum onQ provides.
Just like backup data solutions, disaster recovery plans come in all shapes and sizes, depending on the need of the establishment that commissioned its development. While these two concepts might not be synonymous with each other, they complement each other’s purpose and work together to secure business continuity after an unexpected event occurs.