Business continuity is an oft-misunderstood term. When compared to disaster recovery, there are important differences between the two that are sometimes lost of firms investing in a strategy. Many implement disaster recovery solutions without achieving a real business continuity plan, which can slow down a return to normal operations when a crisis strikes. As such, it is important to understand the difference between the two, and why it is critical to have a continuity of operations plan.
Disaster recovery refers specifically to the ability to restore data and applications when a system fails or goes down unexpectedly. From a power outage to systems failure, whatever the cause, being able to recover and restore data is key, as are how quickly and accurately these processes occur.
True continuity, on the other hand, is an overarching strategy that minimizes downtime and loss during a crisis. This includes disaster recovery but expands well beyond its scope. Employee safety, transportation and cost management all play an important role in continuity of operations planning, as does building infrastructure, having a hot site and even the supply chain.
Business continuity planning, according to Dell's Tech Page One blog, is much more "granular" than disaster recovery. It covers everything from a major disaster forcing a business to close for several weeks to a minor interruption of service, in order to minimize loss in every instance. This means that continuity has to be measured at several levels and a much broader variety of threats have to be assessed. These factors also often mean that true continuity is a long-term investment, rather than an initial change to IT operations.
For companies looking to implement true continuity plans, hiring business continuity consultants can ease the processes and ensure that the quick implementation of a cost-effective strategy.