August 5, 2015

Don't Confuse Backup with Disaster Recovery

IN the world of Managed IT, providers are quite familiar with the discord between a client’s expectations and the reality of what a particular product or service can offer. This is especially true when modest budgets are involved.

When selling a Backup Solution, the service often falls into the ‘Disaster Recovery’ section of the clients risk management check box. Some people may even assume that having a backup also ensures ‘business continuity’. These topics form a tripod on which businesses are able to recover from most kinds of near-misses, failures and ‘Acts of God’. Anyone familiar with tripods will be well-aware of the fact that you can’t lose one of those supports and still expect it to function, therefore Backup, Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity need to be treated as completely separate yet interdependent entities (A toaster and a power point are separate, yet without each other serve no useful purpose)

It is helpful to clearly define each topic and decide where responsibility lies for all the associated work.

Business continuity, for example, is not necessarily the domain of an IT Provider – But still needs to be accounted for by someone (the end user, one would hope!)


What is Backup?

Backups are very simply copies of digital information within a business that can be accessed in the case of accidental, malicious or unfortunate loss of data. The best backup policies include local and offsite copies of data. Backup should be the responsibility of the Managed IT Provider


What is Disaster Recovery (DR) ?

Clearly defined parameters between an IT Provider and an End User about how a business can resume normal IT operations as a result of having to access local or offsite backups.

It can include things like the time taken to procure new hardware, download the backups and reconfigure the business network. Disaster Recovery should be the responsibility of the Managed IT Provider.


What is Business Continuity?

The action plan that clearly instructs a business how to recover from any disaster that affects the non-technical components of their business

(I.e. having access to backups is pointless if the company staff no longer have an office or computers to work from!)

It is worth noting that there are non-technical companies who specialise in Business Continuity.


  • Backups don’t work without a Disaster Recovery Plan that knows how to make use of them.
  • Disaster Recovery doesn’t work without a Business Continuity Plan to ensure the staff have a work environment
  • Business Continuity doesn’t work unless the staff has access to all of their information.