While having a data backup routine is important in safekeeping your data, it may not be enough to cover your business against disasters or major power outages. Data backup and disaster recovery can be the same on the surface but their similarities end at the level of recovery each one can offer when data is lost and when network or hardware failure blocks you from accessing your business computers and servers.
A backup allows one to restore files that were lost due to hardware or human error. Simply put, it creates copies of data and saves them on separate location or device. Examples of these are USB devices, cloud storage backup or remote backup servers from another location.
However, one of the crucial things you have to consider is whether or not you require a Disaster Recovery plan in place to protect all your files, including hardware and software functionalities–without any issues in instances of potential server or hardware failure.
Think of it this way. Let’s say your server died on you and you can’t continue working since you only have a data-level backup in place. For you to recover your work, you need to replace your servers, reinstall the operating system and reconfigure the settings.
It might take days or weeks to reassemble everything, that is if you have copies of your files and recovering environment ready. That is where a Disaster Recovery plan comes into play.
So How is Data Backup Different from Disaster Recovery?
Level of Protection
To have a data backup is literally what it says, a backup copy of your data, including all files and folder. However, should a disaster happen to your hardware infrastructure, how fast can you recover your data and implement your operating systems to get your site running again? This is when you need a disaster recovery plan.
Having backup copies of your files in local or offsite location is just the first part of a disaster recovery strategy. You need to set up the right recovery environment synched with your data. This means that you should have the right storage, servers, operating systems and virtual machines within your recovery environment.
Your recovery environment should directly reflect your actual production environment for your disaster recovery to work. While backup and disaster recovery are not the same, you still need them both to keep your business resilient in the event of disasters.
Data backups are performed on a regular basis to create copies of data and retain them in a separate location. Backups are convenient when you need to restore needed files immediately.
Disaster recovery on the other hand, requires a maximum amount of time for the entire business to function without the IT system after a disaster. The ability to meet these requirements will entail a duplicate IT infrastructure in another location to ensure that the replication is processed between the production and disaster recovery environment.
Again, backups are only useful when you need to restore files at once. However, it won’t protect your servers and computers from possible failures or disasters when your environment is compromised. They don’t have the physical resources necessary to bring the production environment online.
Disaster recovery allows you to process a failover from your production environment to the DR environment to maintain business continuity.
A thorough disaster recovery plan requires more careful planning. It involves knowing which system are mission critical, setting up a recovery and communication process and testing to validate its success.
A disaster recovery plan ensures that risks of disasters and downtimes are mitigated at a deeper level while backup is quite simple and straightforward when it comes to file recovery. It’s essential to know which method will work best to meet your business needs.
For backups, you only need to replicate copies of your data and restore them on the primary source. Disaster recovery will need a separate environment where data is stored and processed. The overall aspects of the original environment should be weighed in, including the software, physical resources, security and connectivity.
To summarize, data backup and disaster recovery are not the same. However, both are equally important in maintaining a long-term business strategy against failures and disasters.
The bottomline here is to have the right recovery objectives for a solid business continuity plan. Make sure that you have the needed recovery plan, systems, processes and tools to ensure that your business stays in shape all the time.
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