Businesses that do not plan for a disaster are at increased risk of shuttering their doors. In fact, an estimated 40 to 60 percent of small businesses that experience a disaster never reopen, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

This is why adopting disaster recovery or business continuity plans are required to help these organisations to survive. Although these strategies overlap at some point, they exist independently of one another and differ in certain key areas.

Businesses can choose to focus on one or the other. However, to be completely prepared, having both a Business Continuity Plan and a Disaster Recovery Plan ensures complete coverage should the unthinkable happen. Why these tools are critical to a business’ overall success and how they differ are explained below.


What is Business Continuity?

Business Continuity refers to business-centric processes that stakeholders adopt to ensure that businesses can continue operating during a disaster or if a workplace becomes inaccessible.
Ideally, this plan offers uninterrupted access to data and a safe place for employees to work. A good business continuity plan should highlight the crucial aspects of a business’ operation and the steps required to protect them in the event of a disaster.

Successful continuity plans typically involve making sure that servers, phones, network connections, network drives, online systems, mitigate downtime to a minimum.
Business continuity solutions must also include how to protect an organisation from less obvious disruptive events or incidents, like if a business is affected by the departure of a vital employee, and it needs to access a network drive to easily execute knowledge transfer. With a business continuity plan in place, your company will be able to continually maintain smooth operations and stay active, no matter what events arise.


What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

In the event of a disaster that leads to inaccessibility of critical systems and turbulence in business continuity, the repercussions can be detrimental to all aspects of your business. To lessen the impact, a disaster recovery plan is needed. Therefore, disaster recovery plans typically involve planning for continuity after a disaster. It takes a data-driven approach to determine how your business can access and recover mission-critical data.
Your disaster recovery plan should include business continuity and ancillary analyses, like Business impact analysis (BIA), Risk analysis (RA), Recovery time objective (RTO), and recovery point objective (RPO). These evaluation techniques will help you create a more detailed plan for identifying threats and disaster, and best practices for retrieving accurate information.
Keep in mind that the term “disaster” could mean something like a catastrophic earthquake disrupting servers to a company dealing with a computer software malfunction due to a virus. Regardless of the disaster, if your data is at risk, so is your business. Hence, maintaining a Disaster Recovery plan is vital to ensure that it functions properly when needed. Recovery time should also be a primary focus of recovery planning, as the sooner a company’s critical business data can be restored, the quicker an organisation can begin functioning normally again. To execute a proper Disaster Recovery plan, all employees must know exactly how to react if stakeholders put it into effect.


Business Continuity Vs. Disaster Recovery: Key Differences

These two strategies are two sides of the same coin because, even though they are very different in nature, they have similar overall goals. They both seek to help businesses effectively cope with or even avert disasters.

Disaster Recovery plans are usually put into effect after a disaster occurs, while Business Recovery plans are executed during a disaster but are also critical to a company’s survival after. Unlike Disaster Recovery, which is data-centric, Business Recovery is business-centric and implemented with the aim of ensuring normal business operations in the event of a disaster. Disaster Recovery solutions involve restoring IT infrastructure and accessing copies of data stored offsite without really focusing on making a business operational during a crisis.
A well-thought-out Business Continuity plan will ensure your business operates with minimal downtime. While an effective disaster recovery plan will allow your important data to be restored in the event, your systems are destroyed during a disaster.


Disasters can lead to compromised data, reputation harm, fractured customer relationships, revenue decrease, and limited business vitality. Despite the understanding of the damaging impacts of a disaster, most businesses are not proactive about protection as they should be. The bottom line is this – Creating and maintaining a business continuity plan as well as a disaster recovery plan is essential to any business’s long-term survival.

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