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The differences between data backup and disaster recovery

Step one, before we invest in technologies to protect our business, we must first understand what they are. It’s important to go beyond the buzzwords, because they can make understanding what needs to be done a little more difficult. And when that happens, IT support isn’t allocated the budget it needs, thus leaving your systems vulnerable.

According to research conducted by Security Week, the total volume of enterprise-level data loss has risen by more than 400 percent over the past couple years without showing signs of letting up. Coupled with the rise of big data, cloud computing, and BYOD policies in the workplace, it’s going to become increasingly challenging for companies to safeguard their private information.

Also, a 2015 Verizon report stated that small breaches (i.e., those with under 100 files lost) cost between $18,120 and $35,730. Unless your company can easily sustain these expenses, it might be time to implement both data backup and disaster recovery plans. Here are some of the differences between these two services:

Pre-game vs. after-party

Data backup refers to the process of copying, moving and storing data to an offsite location. In the past, data would be stored on tape drives. Unfortunately, these drives were inconvenient and highly vulnerable to thefts and natural disasters. Nowadays, data is up there with the cloud, providing businesses with a secure and fast way to implement backups. Essentially, backup is what you do before going to the party — one where cyber criminals won’t be crashing.

Disaster recovery refers to procedures needed to recover data following an IT emergency to allow employees to continue working. The plan includes vital components such as data backup, hardware replacement, and more. Recovery springs into action after the party’s over, where its efficiency determines whether or not the after-party will be riddled with downtime.

Subtle yet significant

It’s undeniable that security breaches and the ensuing downtime are the most tumultuous times for any business. That’s why it’s vital for both data backup and  disaster recovery to work hand-in-hand. To make the most out of this duo, business owners must know the differences between backup as a service and disaster recovery as a service:

  • Power of recovery – backups are for more immediate needs such as retrieving a specific file, whereas disaster recovery helps restore the entire infrastructure (or server), which can be done by switching to an alternative environment. Both ensure business continuity and provide the capacity to bring data back online.
  • Planning – planning for data backups is a daily task. Although simpler than disaster recovery, it needs to meet data retention requirements and RPO (Recovery Point Objective). Disaster recovery strategies on the other hand require scaled out planning, which includes determining mission-critical systems and creating recovery orders, communication processes, and ways to perform valid tests.
  • Data retention requirements – backups are performed daily to ensure single location data retention with the purpose of copying data. DR needs to scale out the RTO (Recovery Point Objective) to calculate the amount of time the business can go without IT systems. RTO requires a duplicated IT infrastructure at a secondary location to allow replication between the production and disaster recovery site.
  • Additional resources – backup is the copying of data that would then be restored to the original source. By contrast, disaster recovery requires an external production environment for data to go live, meaning that factors such as security, physical resources, connectivity and even software must be considered.

Final verdict

Two is definitely better than one. Although both systems are equally important in their own right, they’re inseparable and complement one another well. Backups prevent data loss while disaster recovery planning attempts to minimize as much damage as possible. When a disaster strikes, you need all the hands you can get.

Your business is the culmination of your time, money, and effort. The last thing you want to happen is for it to perish as a result of inadequate backup and recovery services when faced with a natural disaster. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or are interested in data backup and/or disaster recovery solutions.


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