Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR or BC/DR) are closely related practices however are often mistakenly used interchangeably. While cloud computing services can be used to address both business continuity and disaster recovery, you must have a fundamental understanding of the differences to do effective planning.
Disaster recovery (DR) refers to having the ability to restore the data and applications that run your business if your data center, servers, or other infrastructure get damaged or destroyed. Data and application recovery and restoration are important DR consideration.
Business continuity (BC) planning refers to a strategy that lets a business operate with minimal or no downtime or service outage.
Company’s data protection is critical regardless of the strategy you pursue. If your company lost some or all of its data, you’d unlikely be able to continue operations.
The question isn’t whether or not to implement DR or BC solutions, but rather how to balance the two. Depending upon the transaction velocity of your business, you may want to focus on one more than the other. But there are other factors affecting your decision as to how much protection and how much loss you can afford.
Disaster recovery plans are developed so that everyone knows exactly what to do to help the business recover in the aftermath of a major catastrophic event. Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and acts of war have all caused big companies to either activate their DR plans or deeply regret not having one.
Disasters happen. And when they do, they can destroy or incapacitate entire buildings, towns, and cities. And that’s where the concept of redundancy comes into the picture. You may backup your data locally, and if a server or storage device fail, you simply replace it and restore the local copy of your data. But when a major outage hits your building, your neighborhood, perhaps even your entire city or region, you’ll need to make sure that the data has been replicated far away in a remote data center, perhaps more than one, and is available for restoration as soon as you’ve secured a new physical location.
Business continuity planning is much more granular. Even minor lapses in operation can threaten an enterprise’s existence. Highly transactional environments almost always require a BC plan.
BC measures need to be put into place at multiple levels. For example, redundant servers, redundant storage, even redundant data centers may be required to provide enough availability to support true continuity of the business.
True continuity of business operations requires high availability, with the lowest level of fault tolerance, and the ability to recover from a disaster almost instantly.
If your company can’t afford to stop doing business, you’ll not only need to replicate your data but the entire infrastructure. When an outage or disaster occurs, your network “fails over” to the redundant data center and your people continue working as if nothing has happened. Users unable to access the company’s network can connect to the secondary data center easily from wherever they can securely access the internet.
You may be in condition of dilemma when it comes to investment to achieve the flexibility that suits your business need. You don’t want to overspend, but you don’t want to under protect either. You can start the process by assessing the value of each critical data asset, and create a specific plan for each. Compare the approximate cost of each plan against the value of the asset to establish an acceptable ratio.
In almost all cases, utilizing an externally managed service to accomplish DR or BC will result in lower costs and usually higher performance – less waiting time at a lower cost.