Differences Between Disaster Recovery and Data Backups


Disaster recovery planning is a crucial part of a business’s IT strategy and is increasing in popularity as the risk of security breaches and network outages continues to increase. Oftentimes people confuse data backups with disaster recovery plans, with the misguided belief that backup is enough to constitute a disaster recovery plan. However, this is merely a step in a complete disaster recovery strategy.

There are several key differences between data backups and disaster recovery plans to keep in mind.

Data Retention Requirements

Backups are normally performed day-to-day to ensure data retention for a single location, if only to copy data.

Disaster recovery requires the implementation of the recovery time objective (RTO) to designate the maximum amount of time a company can go without a functioning IT system following a disaster. Typically, the ability to meet all RTO requirements entails the inclusion of at least one duplicate of the IT infrastructure in another location to enable replication between both disaster recovery and production sites.

Ability to Recover

Disaster recovery involves the transferring of primary environment systems to an alternative environment that can help maintain continuity of data.

Backups are ideal for immediate access if you need to quickly restore a document, but it won’t be of much help if your entire infrastructure is compromised at any point. Data backup doesn’t include physical resources needed to recover from a system crash, either.

Other Resource Needs

A backup is merely a single copy of data that can be restored when needed, while disaster recovery requires a completely separate alternate environment to contain data in the event of the primary environment’s compromise. This will include not only data backups, but also physical resources, connectivity, security, and software backups.

A Complete Planning Process

Planning a data backup is simple, since the only main goals are to meet the recovery point objective (RPO) and data retention requirements. However, a complete disaster recovery plan will need additional planning, which includes determining the most mission-critical systems, generating a recovery order and a communication process, along with a valid testing method.

Ultimately, the benefits and necessity of a DR plan outweigh those of a simple data backup, mitigating both risk and downtime to maintain compliance and avoid outages. You should make sure you have a complete disaster recovery plan in place, with data backup as one of the initial steps in the process.

Consulting with Managed IT Experts

One of the best ways to make sure you have a sufficient disaster recovery plan in place is to consult with managed IT experts, who can help with your strategy. You may not be aware of all of the aspects of a disaster recovery plan, but experienced IT experts can provide you with a system that works, while allowing you to redirect your focus on other areas of business.

With a complete disaster recovery strategy in place, you’ll be able to keep your business up and running without the potential loss of data and money.