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Understanding the difference between Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery is difficult as people tend to use the terms interchangeably. However, they are not exactly the same.
Knowing when to use each term will be important as you work with your IT support services company to determine computer and network risks to your business.
Your IT support provider can walk you through the differences, but it helps to have some understanding beforehand so you can discuss options with your board and management team with a base of knowledge.
Disaster recovery is just one portion of business continuity. A business continuity plan will include a plan for disaster recovery so that your team can be prepared to handle emergency situations or system down times.
Companies typically follow these steps below to determine what their business continuity plan will entail. You can also use the Business Continuity Plan (BCP) & Disaster Recovery Plan Template (DRP) made available by Prosyn, a complete IT support services provider, to begin your own plans for your business.
- Create the Business Continuity Plan (BCP) statement. Much like a mission statement defines the overarching goals of your business, a business continuity plan statement defines the overarching goals of developing the BCP.
- Do a Business Impact Analysis. During this phase, the IT support services team will identify systems that are critical to the functioning of the business. Susceptibilities and threats to these systems are acknowledged and effects of those threats are calculated.
- Identify preventive measures. Once the information on critical systems is acquired, the IT team can identify and establish preventive measures to vulnerable areas. Questions during this phase may relate to anti-virus software, protection against phishing attacks, and training employees on best practices for security and IT compliance.
- Disaster recovery plan. When countermeasures are not successful, a disaster recovery plan is implemented to bring systems back online within a reasonable amount of time. These conversations may involve how services can continue to be provided without being online, which teams will be involved in getting various systems back online, a discussion of options for moving equipment to working sites if necessary, communication options, and which systems should take priority.
- Contingency plan. The contingency plan lays out what operations, functions, and guidelines will remain in place during a disaster. These discussions could involve discussions with department managers to the minimum requirements to continue to function.
- Testing. In order to ensure contingency and disaster recovery plans will operate as intended, scenarios are created to test the system and personnel for any areas that need additional planning.
- Maintenance. Business continuity planning is not a “one and done” process.” It should be ongoing and adjust as business processes and operations change. New threats will always emerge that require the BCP to be revamped.
The outline of the BCP process shows where the disaster recovery plans fall in relation to the big picture. Disaster recovery entails the immediate needs of an organization during a crisis. Business continuity goes further and encompasses countermeasures and analysis of current systems.