What is the difference between a business continuity plan and a business data recovery plan? Well, I advice you read on to find the answers you seek. When two terms are so closely related that only experts can figure out the differences between them, chances are that they will be erroneously regarded as the same, and they will be interchangeably used in speech and writing.

One common example in the business world is the confusion of business continuity and data recovery. Every entrepreneur needs to understand that these two concepts are different, and misunderstanding them could result in huge risks.

According to the IBM, 43 percent of the companies that lose vital business data following a major disaster never reopen afterwards, 51 percent reopen but eventually close down within two years, and only a meager 6 percent survive in the long term. These statistics drive home the point that loss of vital information and other assets following a disaster could mean the ultimate end of an organization.

However, one sure way to reduce your chances of closing shop after a major disaster is to know the differences between a business continuity plan and a data recovery plan. Read on to get a clearer understanding of what each term means and how both terms are different from each other.

Business Continuity Plan vs. Data Recovery Plan: What is the Difference?

What is Data recovery

Data recovery planning is the process of saving data with the aim of being able to retrieve it in the event of a major disaster. This concept is particularly of importance in the IT industry and all other businesses that rely on IT.

Data loss disasters range from losing few pieces of data (or an important set of data) to losing a whole data storage facility or data center. The harsh truth is, recovering a lost corporate database may be as difficult as reconstructing a company’s entire infrastructure.

In the event of a natural disaster, such as hurricane, all of the affected area will be under water, including businesses and even basic resources that people need to live. Businesses in that area will certainly lose all of their on-site data. So, a data recovery plan, such as keeping all company data on storage facilities that are kept in a secure location, would help recover all lost data easily.

In situations where company data is kept in a distant off-site location, an additional part of the data recovery plan would cover how the data will be recovered so that the business can assess it again. Though a data recovery plan usually focuses more on data itself, it may also include plan for recovering data management equipment and facilities, IT infrastructures, and source of power.

In essence, a data recovery plan helps you get parts of your business operating again after a disaster by providing access to a copy of your lost data and data management facilities. Although it does not guarantee that your business will remain operational during a crisis, without one your business will never recover from even a minor data loss.

What is Business continuity

Business continuity is completely different from data recovery in that it doesn’t focus on data alone, but on the whole business. The aim of a business continuity plan is to help a business—in its entirety—recover from a failure or disaster.

A business continuity plan introduces strategies that the business will use to maintain smooth operations, such as obtaining disaster recovery loans and securing replacement equipment. It addresses how a business will continue normal operations such as the following:

  • Customer support
  • Sales and order taking
  • Billing
  • Employee relations

In addition, a business continuity plan includes uninterrupted access to critical data and makeshift arrangements for key employees to continue working (when their offices are unavailable). These arrangements include online systems, telecommuting plans, access to phone systems, shared network drives, and applications.

A business continuity plan also considers how suppliers, customers, and other external factors will be affected, how these external factors will affect your business’s ability to recover, and the steps your business will take to overcome these challenges.

In essence, an effective business continuity plan will help protect your business from the huge adverse effects of any disaster—natural or man-made.

Now What is the Difference Between Both?

Since business continuity is connected with business operations and management of staff and facilities, it represents a much larger scope of business recovery than data recovery, which focuses on vital information only.

However, despite the differences between them, data recovery and business continuity plans are so interdependent that they are usually made up into one detailed plan that covers all unexpected possibilities that a business may encounter.

By now, you should have gotten a clear understanding of the differences and similarities between data recovery and business continuity.