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Business Continuity Vs Disaster Recovery Plan And Why Do Businesses Need Both?

The pandemic has revealed critical business continuity weaknesses across all industries and given an extreme tremor to the global economy.

Photo Credit : Shutterstock


The Covid pandemic has led to major transformations wherein businesses and companies are trying to adapt to the ‘new normal’. They have realized the need to revisit their business modules and especially consider one important aspect of strategy, that is, business continuity. The Covid-19 crisis has given birth to buzzwords like digital transformation, business continuity planning, and management, disaster recovery plan, future of work, and others, but what is the real difference? While they sound similar, it is necessary to understand how each of these can create an impact and help businesses. 

If the unthinkable or unknown should occur, one needs to have a robust Business Continuity Management (BCM) tool to protect its people, brand, and reputation. The pandemic has revealed critical business continuity weaknesses across all industries and given an extreme tremor to the global economy. 

Business Continuity v/s Disaster Recovery

In order to keep business downtime to a minimum, one needs to have both business continuity and disaster recovery plans. These two plans may sound identical, but they are two entirely different strategies to safeguard a business from disruptions like natural disasters, power outages, and cyber attacks, etc. Both the plans are equally important as any other business plan for the growth and success of a business.

Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a set of actions that need to be taken in case of a crisis that will keep it running whereas a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) is a subset of a BCP that focuses on restoring critical functions of a business such as communications, hardware, and IT assets. 

Though BCP & DRP look similar, the difference is the time to put them into action but the overlap strengthens the functioning of a business during a disruption.

Creating two plans depends upon business priorities and how long will it take to get back into full operations. The loss of business during that time can be weighed against the costs of business continuity and disaster planning and execution.

The overlap and the difference

Both plans are meant for disaster preparedness whether, for prevention, response, or both BCP answers the question of ‘what are the next steps to ensure the business is running during a crisis?’ and DRP answers the question of ‘what are the next steps of recovery from a disruption?’ It is observed that 90% of the small businesses without a disaster recovery plan will fail after the disaster. A healthy BCP will always have a Disaster recovery plan that can address specific steps of recovering and restoring critical business aspects. This will encompass the restoration of the operating infrastructure, largely IT systems. 

While DR is a subset of BC, there are instances where it can be used without having to activate the entire business continuity plan. For example, if there is a power outage and a DR plan is set in place then functions can be up and running without hindrance to internal or external users. A business continuity plan can also be activated independently of disaster recovery, for example, if there’s been a flood - it is necessary to communicate with employers, vendors, customers, etc, and gather information on who or what has been affected. Should there be any damage to the infrastructure, the next step would be to action the DR plan.

These plans are not only important to be prepared during an event but also before and after a crisis has occurred. Companies that have a comprehensive BCP and DRP in place, will be able to respond and recover much earlier than others. Unpredictable situations like Covid has given a chance for businesses to learn and adapt to fresh ways of working. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Kundan Shekhawat

The Author is the Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Ascent Business Technology Inc

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