Let’s be realistic. If your network stops working, so does your business. Fires, natural disasters, cyber attacks, and hardware failure can all strike at any time, potentially resulting in critical data loss and business downtime. And each additional minute it takes to get your network back up and running means lost revenue and missed opportunities.
When it comes to protecting your business from catastrophes, we often hear the terms disaster recovery and business continuity used interchangeably. In many respects, the two are closely related. However, there are some key differences that you need to understand if you want to prioritize disaster preparedness and network uptime. In this post, we’ll provide an overview of both and why they matter followed by a discussion of the critical differences.
Backup disaster recovery (BDR) is comprised of the systems and strategies your business has in place to get your critical IT infrastructure up and running following a network outage or a disaster. BDR involves in-depth policies that outline specific actions your team takes before, during, and after an unexpected event disrupts day-to-day business operations. By ensuring that everyone knows his or her unique role following a disaster, you can get your restore critical network operations with fewer delays.
When thinking about BDR, there are three crucial factors to consider:
When it comes to disaster recovery, the ideal outcome is a crisis you were prepared for or able to avert altogether. That’s why your first priority should be how to reduce the chances of disaster in the first place. For example, replacing hardware based on recommended manufacturer lifetimes to reduce the likelihood of critical failure or leveraging redundant cloud resources are simple steps you can take to proactively avoid data loss or outages.
While we’ll provide a more in-depth explanation of business continuity planning in the next section, continuity is still a critical part of disaster recovery. However, when we’re talking about disaster recovery specifically, continuity refers to minimizing downtime for your mission-critical network operations.
For example, if your business depends on your VoIP phone system every day, you need a disaster recovery process in place to cost-effectively get phones back up and running as soon as possible following an outage. However, less critical computer network functions like printing or video conferencing are lower on the list of priorities and may not pertain to your disaster recovery platform.
When thinking about disaster recovery, you need to primarily think about scope and timeline. What network resources does your team use every hour, every day, every week, or every month? Once you can answer this question, you can begin prioritizing the processes that need to be restored as quickly as possible following an outage.
The recovery process becomes much simpler when you have a managed service provider (MSP) or a similar partner who specializes in disaster recovery. Hopefully, you’ll never need them, but in the event that you do, you’ll be glad to have them on your side. By leveraging powerful technology platforms like cloud services and network failovers, your team can stay focused on day-to-day operations while your MSP uses their technical expertise to streamline critical recovery following a catastrophe. With a team dedicated to disaster recovery, many MSPs can get critical network operations up and running in a day or less, depending on the disaster.
Business continuity planning (BCP) primarily focuses on the ways that normal network operations can be restored to pre-disaster performance levels following a disaster as though it never happened. In short, BCP takes a bigger picture approach to restoring IT functions following a disaster.
While your BDR plan focuses on restoring mission-critical network operations, BCP prioritizes less critical processes that are still part of your team’s normal workflows. While BDR timelines may be measured in terms of minutes and hours, BCP is more frequently measured in days or even weeks. After all, if your team can’t print or scan for a couple of days, chances are you won’t experience any measurable disruption to your operations. If that’s the case for your business, restoring printer functionality is an example of something that would fall under BCP rather than BDR.
Whether you want to take the next step to mitigate the risk of disasters in the first place or you want to streamline your to recover network operations following a disaster, we’re here to help. Contact our team today, and we’ll work with you to develop a BDR and BCP that’s optimized for your needs.
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