Backup and Disaster recovery are both crucial for companies and individuals. The need for this technology increases as the amount of data created and stored grows at an unprecedented rate, and as it becomes necessary for the continuous operation of a business. When it comes to disaster recovery services, many people tend to confuse backups with disaster recovery, thinking that they are pretty much the same. Here is a brief explanation of both terms and the differences between them.
A backup or data backup refers to the process of copying important data to an alternative location for preservation in the case of equipment failure. Data loss can be attributed to a number of factors, including crashes, physical damage, or failure, theft, or basic user error. Backup as a service (BaaS) provides a simple form of data recovery as it makes it possible to restore original information after a data loss event.
Backing up the data
There are quite a number of ways to backup data, but here are the common ones:
- USB flash drives: Small, cheap, and convenient USB flash drives are devices that you can carry in your pocket. They’re portable but easy to misplace and limited by storage capacity.
- External drives (e.g. Network Attached Storage, Tape): Just like the name indicates, external drives are drives that are being connected outside computers and servers, and although they can be portable it’s very difficult to carry them around. They have a sufficient amount of storage but run the risk of hardware failure. Also, they fail to support the recommended 3-2-1 model – 3 copy of the data, 2 different places and 1 being cloud storage.
- Cloud storage: Cloud backup is the most preferred method of data backup as it offers more benefits than other backup options. The cloud storage field includes hyper-scalers like AWS, Azure, Google and providers like PeaSoup where data is secured and not replicated or stored outside the country borders. It can be remotely accessed but requires a data connection using API or software like Veeam Cloud Connect.
Benefits of data backup
- Protection against data loss: Data loss can occur at any time and for all kinds of reasons, but backup helps protect your sensitive information from permanent loss.
- No wasted time: Backup can be a saviour in the event of data loss as it eliminates the need to rewrite reports or rebuild a database, thereby helping to save time. Data could be restored relatively fast but without the operational systems.
- Peace of mind: Regular data backups can keep worries far from you about possible data loss and its negative effects.
Disaster recovery refers to the process of returning a system to a state of normalcy after the occurrence of a disastrous event. It could either be a natural disaster such as (a flood or hurricane) or human-induced one (such as an error or cyberattack). Disaster recovery covers any possible scenario that threatens the continuation of vital technology infrastructure (technology disaster) such that operations will be as close to normal as possible despite significant disruptive events.
Benefits of disaster recovery
- Minimises the interruption of operations: Disaster recovery makes it possible for the processes of a business to continue with minimal disruptions.
- Protects business reputation: Frequent interruptions can dent the image of any business and repel potential customers. Disaster recovery helps business resume operations in the shortest possible time, and the continued service can help improve the reputation of the company.
- Limits losses: When a business is unable to continue its normal functions, it experiences losses in terms of revenue and expenditure on technical assistance. Disaster recovery helps guard against these losses.
- Optimum performance: Disaster recovery keeps a company’s performance at an optimum level by making sure all needed systems are always online.
- Minimal data loss: if an outage or any other disaster occurs at 7:26, DR software restores from 7:25:45. This, for example, could be a lifesaver for some companies operating in a high volume of transaction.
Difference between Backup and Disaster Recovery, and benefits to the customers
Here are the key differences between backup and data recovery:
- Resource needs: Backup is a straightforward process that involves duplication and retrieval of data when needed. On the other hand, data recovery requires a separate production environment where the data can live. To make this happen, all aspects of the current environment must be taken into consideration, and this includes physical resources, software, connectivity, and security.
- Planning involved: Planning a backup routine is simple, and you can schedule your data for backup automatically as it requires little to no planning. In contrast, disaster recovery requires solid planning to determine the systems that are critical, create a recovery order, and develop a way to perform a validity test.
- Purpose: The goal of backup is simply to prevent the loss of sensitive data, while disaster recovery serves a slightly complex purpose. Its goal is to mitigate risk and avoid outages so systems can continue to function with minimal interruption.
- Data retention requirement: Backups are performed to ensure data retention on a regular basis at a single location, while disaster recovery requires a stated recovery time objective in order to determine the amount of time the firm can be without IT systems post-disaster. This is possible if only there’s at least one duplicate of the IT infrastructure in a secondary location to allow for replication between the production and data recovery site.
In the early stages of disaster recovery planning, many people tend to think that data backup is sufficient precaution in the event of a disaster. With the above explanation, it is clear that a backup is the duplication of data, while a disaster recovery plan is an insurance that guarantees its recovery.