Let’s talk about having a Business Continuity Plan vs. a Disaster Recovery Plan. Do you need both? Many companies see business continuity and disaster recovery as one and the same. After all, when properly implemented, they both allow a business to survive natural and man-made calamities yet continue as a viable business. But is a Business Continuity Plan and a Disaster Recovery Plan the same thing?

In fact, no. They are two separate processes, with a similar aim to ensure your company can survive if the worst should befall you. And you need both to survive.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at a Business Continuity Plan vs. a Disaster Recovery Plan, including how they’re different and what you need to do to set up each of them so that you can give your business a fighting chance of survival if a catastrophic event should take place. Read on to learn more about Business Continuity Plans vs. Disaster Recovery Plans.


Business Continuity Plans vs. Disaster Recovery Plans

Business continuity and disaster recovery are processes and techniques that are used to help an organization, like yours, to recover from a catastrophic event, either man-made or natural, so that they can resume routine business operations. A Business Continuity Plan and a Disaster Recovery Plan should be used in tandem with each other, to provide your organization with a holistic approach to keeping your company afloat if the worst should happen. This handy chart below shows the difference between the two:

Business Continuity Plan

Disaster Recovery Plan

  • Deals with business operations during a disaster.
  • Policies and procedures created to ensure essential business functions and processes will be available during and after a catastrophic event.
  • Could include staff replacement/reassignment, change management issues, business impact analyses, and more.
  • Deals with the IT side during a disaster.
  • Policies and procedures created to ensure your organization’s IT department will be able to recover from a catastrophic event.
  • Could include restoration of servers or networks, back-up copying, or provisioning back-up systems.


Building a Business Continuity Plan

Now that the chart above has shown the difference between a Business Continuity Plan and a Disaster Recovery Plan, it’s time to start talking about how you can set up each piece, so they work in tandem with each other!

As mentioned in the chart above, a Business Continuity Plan focuses on keeping your business activities and staff functional through a catastrophic event. Does your organization have a Business Continuity Plan in place? In many cases, there have been a number of new industry and government-driven regulations that has created internal pressure for organizations, like yours, to create a Business Continuity Plan.

We’ve put together these five tips for you to consider when you start building your Business Continuity Plan:

  • Tip 1: Make Your Business Continuity Plan Structured and Repeatable

Putting together a Business Continuity Plan can become an overwhelming project. Be sure that you’re focusing on implementing a Business Continuity Plan that is structured and repeatable, which can be applied to one business unit at a time.

  • Tip 2: Enable Your Business Leaders to Own the Business Continuity Plan

If you establish a business continuity template that your leaders can implement, the rest of the organization can easily follow along (plus, using a template makes it easier to update the Business Continuity Plan when needed).

  • Tip 3: Build a Company-Wide Roadmap to Guide You Through the Business Continuity Plan

Start your Business Continuity Plan with a high-level company-wide roadmap that can guide you through the project. During this time, you should establish the specific objectives for your Business Continuity Plan, such as management of the plan, policies you want to implement, etc.  Then, determine what risks your business might face. Analyzing your business to determine your recovery time objectives will help you to create solutions that are specific to meeting those objectives. Last, make sure that you’re involving representation from all of your employees to establish company-wide incident responses and contingency plans, and ensure that you’re communicating and testing those plans through day-to-day awareness and practices.

  • Tip 4: Start With a Small Business Continuity Plan, then Work Your Way Up

Instead of trying to do a full organization-wide implementation of a Business Continuity Plan, start small. Take the roadmap you’ve created, and implement it in one of your business units – say, for example, your sales department. Run tests and analyze the results to see what effort is needed to extend the Business Continuity Plan to the rest of your business operations. Repeat this “pilot” methodology one business unit at a time until you’ve extended it to your entire organization.

  • Tip 5: Practice Makes Perfect

Just like the small-scale implementation, it’s important to ensure that you practice your Business Continuity Plan at least once a year. After all, without practice, how are you sure that it’s going to work if a catastrophic event actually occurred?


Building a Disaster Recovery Plan: The Yin to the Business Continuity Plan’s Yang

Now that you’ve worked out your Business Continuity Plan, it’s time to turn your attention to your Disaster Recovery Plan. In the 2017 State of Disaster Recovery Preparedness report, only 54 percent of the participants reported having a unified program that spanned the entire enterprise, and only 14% of companies are updating their Disaster Recovery Plans continuously.

With many different disasters facing a business today, you should implement a Disaster Recovery Plan that satisfies your business needs and is also cost effective. Below are 5 tips to create your Disaster Recovery Plan:

  • Tip 1: Communicate the Value of Backups

The value of doing backups is often misunderstood when it comes time to set the budget. Make sure your stakeholders understand the value and the effective worth of having a backup system, and how it works in tandem with a Business Continuity Plan.

  • Tip 2: Determine Recovery Requirements

Backups must be driven by your recovery requirements, not the capabilities of your backup solution. Determine your business’s real recovery needs and set meaningful recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs)

  • Tip 3: Evaluate the Impact of Backup Technology

Assess your current backup solution and determine if any serious gaps exist. Research other backup solutions to see if any would help you achieve your goals more completely and with less cost.

  • Tip 4: Treat Backup and Recovery as a Service You Provide to Your Users

Clearly communicate everyone’s roles and responsibilities in making sure backups are effective. Have clear processes to ensure your Disaster Recovery Plan can be effectively carried out.

  • Tip 5: Practice Your Disaster Recovery Plan to Ensure It’ll Work

Just as you need to do with your Business Continuity Plan, you need to make sure that you practice your Disaster Recovery Plan at least once a year. Do you know if your Disaster Recovery Plan will work? If so, do you know how long it will take to fail over to your Disaster Recovery Plan in the event of a catastrophic event? Without practicing your Disaster Recovery Plan, you’ll never be sure of how your team will respond in the event of a disaster.


Let Us Help You with your Business Continuity Plan and Disaster Recovery Plan!

When it comes to your Business Continuity Plan and Disaster Recovery Plan, you want to make sure that you’ve got both, and they’re both working in tandem. Need some help? ProServeIT offers a fully-managed disaster recovery program, which should be a good starting point.

If you want to learn more about what disaster recovery is, take a look at the video below. Want to learn in detail about how ProServeIT can help you with building your Disaster Recovery Plan? Check out our Azure Site Recovery on-demand webinar.