There’s debate about the relative merits of Backup and Disaster Recovery (DR); can you have one without the other? If so, which one do you choose?

Many organisations think their backup plans will suffice in the event of a disaster, and that they just need to ‘row back’ a few days when the worst happens.

Granted, this approach is simpler and naturally cheaper, but it still smacks of a ‘won’t-happen-to-me’ mentality.

That’s because in reality Backup and DR are quite different things.

What’s the difference between Backup and Disaster Recovery?

Backup is about preserving an organisation’s recent history. This usually includes things like emails, recent business transactions like sales and outgoings, HR, rolling stock, inventory and the like. Its primary function is to restore data as it appeared at some historical point in time by restoring a discreet backup.

In other words, Backup technology is there to protect data that is critical to day-to-day operations.

Disaster Recovery, on the other hand, refers to the ability of an organisation to build an exact mirror of its existing IT architecture and business processes which can be switched on in the event of a significant event that causes widespread system failure.

To illustrate further, think about these two real-world examples:

1) Jenny from finance. Jenny from finance has just realised she accidentally deleted her whole P&L folder from her shared drive the day before.

This means her IT guy needs to restore her folder using the backup that was conducted two days ago. Thankfully Jenny’s ‘shared drive’ was also backed up and a potential crisis is averted. This is Backup as a Service.

2) After the flood. A company has all of its infrastructure storage and systems located in the one server room. Over the weekend serious flash flooding sees the room totally inundated, destroying everything in the process.

However, because they had the foresight to fund a Disaster Recovery solution, the fretting senior executives are assured that all of their primary data has been replicated at a secondary site. In this situation, the company simply puts a call in to the service provider to recover everything after this disaster and, because they’ve also got brilliant networking technologies, it will happen simply and quickly. This is Disaster Recovery as a Service.

Business continuity is everything

Most companies will never have to deal with anything so dramatic as the second example, however the frequency of big events does appear to be increasing and, like with so many things, Australia does seem to be punching above its weight where this is concerned.

However, a key factor when considering your options is that of cyber-crime.

No-one would disagree that it has become more prevalent, far-reaching, and destructive – as well as being harder to combat.

Organisations that have highly centralised, on-premise systems and data repositories, and which rely heavily on legacy systems, are most at risk – whether through internal or external forces.

Depending on their goal, the effect of an attack might be disruptive or result in the loss of lots of personal data – something that will interest government regulators, too.

In-line with this trend, we have seen the emergence of powerful and sophisticated ‘as-a-service’ solutions for both Backup and Disaster Recovery, that are easier to deploy and manage, as well as less expensive. Built on ‘hyperconverged’, virtualised, cloud and hybrid environments, they’re easier to manage and resurrect when something knocks them over, as well as potentially more difficult to breach.

Should you have both Backup and Disaster Recovery then?

Boiling Backup and Disaster Recovery down to their simplest essence, both are concerned with simple ‘business continuity’.

Indeed, depending on the frequency of Backup and Disaster Recovery, they can become interchangeable. However companies that are serious about being prepared for any eventuality – and have the budget – should take nothing for granted and we would strongly advise all organisations to incorporate both.

For over 20 years, Brennan IT has been helping Australian firms build more certainty and reliability into their operations through the deployment of the latest bleeding-edge technologies and hands-on support of the best engineers and business consultants. Connect with us today to discuss your plans when that things that would never happen, actually does.

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