DR vs. Backup: What’s the Difference?

DR vs. Backup: What’s the Difference?

Is your hedge fund challenged understanding DR vs. Backup? RFA breaks down the key differences between the two practices.

When it comes to developing a disaster recovery strategy, many organizations think that data backup is enough to keep them protected in the time of a crisis. However, it’s important to note that while data backup is an important facet of any disaster recovery (DR) strategy, the two are not interchangeable. Keep reading for five key facts to keep in mind when understanding DR vs. backup, and how firms can make sure that their strategy is efficient and effective.DR vs. Backup

Data backup isn’t disaster recovery.

While many people often use the terms data backup and disaster recovery interchangeably, this is incorrect. The key differentiator when it comes to DR vs. backup is that DR replicates data and technology functions in real time to an offsite location, and will enable a firm to restore operations to an offsite location immediately, preventing interruptions to the workday if an event renders the primary work site unusable. In contrast, data backup is a copy of a company’s data files that are made by taking routine snapshots either once daily or overnight, to a physical tape located onsite or to a virtual tape library offsite.

Data backup can take a long time to recover.

Just because an organization’s data is backed up doesn’t mean it will be available immediately. Piecing the data back together and re-installing it on new servers can take several days or even weeks. Data backup software can often fail altogether. Disaster recovery, on the other hand, creates a full image of disk drives and servers, and can potentially restore and install virtual servers quickly, often within minutes to hours depending on the specific plan and systems in place.

Disaster doesn’t have to mean a major event.

Many organizations feel comfortable using simple data backup as their DR strategy because they think that the likeliness of a major event, such as a weather-related natural disaster or a human-induced threat such as a cyber-attack, is unlikely. However, a disaster can mean any event that prevents employees from working adequately in their primary location, and can include network outages, equipment failures, and human-related errors.

Design backup and DR strategies independently. 

For organizations to design the most efficient backup and DR strategies, they should determine the correct information they plan to include in their backups. Another critical step is employee training, and firms should ensure that properly-trained individuals are managing data backup functions as well as DR functions, and that they understand the purpose each function plays within the firm. These trainings will minimize human error and keep the system optimized for when information does need to be retrieved. Additionally, firms must make sure that data backup is part of a larger DR strategy. A reliable disaster recovery system should be in place for their most critical business operations.

Data backup is still a key component of any DR strategy.

While they are not the same, data backup is still a key component to disaster recovery and should be utilized. Organizations, especially those within the financial industry, are required by law to back up all of their data in order to be compliant with the specific regulations. Data backup is helpful in instances where deleted emails need to be recovered, past employee communications need to be explored, or other previously deleted information needs to be retrieved.