Data Backup and Disaster Recovery: What’s the Difference?


In this day and age, data is everything. Most companies realize that some manner of protection for that data is a requirement now, but there are different degrees of readiness when it comes to recovering from a major data situation. So, what degree of protection does your company have? It starts by understanding some of the terminology in this game.

What is Data Backup?

Data backup is absolutely critical. This refers to the actual physical backup and recovery mechanism if this backed-up data should have to be accessed and brought back into the system. That sounds simple enough, but the reality is that there is a lot to consider here.

There are different types of backup available. You have to think about the business you are in and how much data we are really talking about here. Some businesses need constant real-time backup so that there is no chance of losing anything ever. Of course, a service like this costs a pretty penny. Other businesses may be able to settle for daily or even weekly backups if their data is not as sensitive or doesn’t change as frequently. Then there are other questions, like on-site or off-site backup. On-site is cheaper and quicker to restore if needed, but it only helps in a malfunction-type situation. If the building with the backup burns to the ground, on-site obviously will be no help. Keeping multiple backups at another location is the way to take things to the next level when it comes to backup and recovery. However, there is money involved in these decisions and each business will have to evaluate whether these options are necessary.

So What is Disaster Recovery?

Well, losing data is a disaster in and of itself, but disaster recovery is thinking about this from a higher plane. We’re not talking about just having a power hiccup and needing to recover a few files to get things running again. Disaster recovery is an all-encompassing plan for how the network and data for the business will be protected, backed up, and recovered if necessary. This means not just knowing that the data is physically reproduced and safe, but also knowing exactly how the system would be restored to working order and how long that would take if a true disaster were to occur.

Much like backup questions, this comes down to the needs of the business and the nature of the data and system involved. What are the risks? How likely is a disaster to strike? If it did, what level of disruption is acceptable for the business to continue to function? These are all questions that need to be asked when a business is trying to decide just what level of protection is required.

Do I Need One? Or Both?

Most businesses are looking to cut costs any way that they can, but data is not a place to play games and take risks. Most businesses would consider backup a bare minimum. Disaster recovery may be considered a luxury to some businesses, but like a lot of things in this realm, it only seems too expensive when nothing is wrong. When a disaster strikes, that money won’t seem excessive at all. There is no better peace of mind that you can get than that of having a cohesive plan for what happens next when the unthinkable occurs.

Another thing to remember when trying to decide if you business needs backup, disaster recovery, or both is to remember the definition of disaster changes as technology marches on. Disaster recovery used to mean recovering from a fire or natural disaster. These days a virus or ransom-ware attack could very well fit the description of a disaster when it comes to data.

Analyze Your Business and Find the Solution That Works For You

Every business is different and has different needs. Budgets may dictate things as well. There are plenty of ways to cut back and help that bottom line, but data security is probably not a good place to start. Weigh the pros and cons of both backup and disaster recovery plans and make a choice that will preserve the integrity and efficiency of your company. The only thing worse than trying to decide what is enough backup and recovery for your business is second-guessing those decisions when it all goes down.