Difference between Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

  • January 12, 2015
  • Dan Banning

Business Continuity (BC) can sometimes be confused with disaster recovery (DR), but they are separate methods. While the BC process is proactive, the DR process is intended to be reactive. BC is designed to avoid or mitigate the impact of a disruptive event and is focused on continuing service to customers while the impacts are felt. On the other hand, DR is focused on restoring elements that have been impacted after the event occurs. BC maintains business processes at the best possible service level, while DR is restoring the organization’s technology infrastructure back to business as usual.

When examining the relationship between Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery, it is important to understand the difference between objective and reality timeframes. With BC, plan owners are asked to look at the objective time of when they would want something back or how much data they think they could lose and try to recreate. This is known as the recovery time objective (RTO) and the recovery point objective (RPO). This is purely based on what the plan owner thinks they could tolerate for their processes. The questions that are usually asked to BC plan owners are the following:

  • RTO: How long do you think you can go without the resource?
  • RPO: How much data do you think you could afford to lose?

However, on the DR planning side you look at the actual time it is going to take to get that application or resource back or how much data would be lost with the current technology infrastructure that the organization has set up. It is not objective to who is answering the planning question; it is the reality of the situation. This is known as the recovery time (RT) and the recovery point (RP). The questions that are usually asked to the IT DR Team are the following:

  • RT: How long would it take to recover and get the application, server, etc. back up and going?
  • RP: How much data would be lost based on the current technology infrastructure you have set up?

Having both a BC and DR plan is critical to ensuring your organization is ready in the event of a disaster or incident.

Learn more about Quantivate Business Continuity Software and Services and see how we can help you implement a world-class BC and DR program at your organization.