The difference between Backup and Disaster Recovery

Shimon Sorga 15-Jul-2020 00:00:00

The terms “Backup” and “Disaster Recovery (DR)” are often misunderstood when discussing data protection and IT systems. If you are not clear on the difference your business could end up paying the price.

Having a backup strategy is not the same as having a DR strategy. In basic terms, a backup is having a copy of your data, while DR is the strategy to recover your essential IT environment if compromised.

Let’s break the two down in more detail:

What is a backup?

A backup is a physical or virtual copy of your data on another device or in another location. This could be in the form of an external hard drive or on separate storage in your data center or in a separate location.

How often backups are performed is dependent on the enterprise and what they value, but they will typically be performed daily. That day’s data is copied and stored away from the original data. This can be done manually by someone physically changing tapes/disks or remotely and automatically in the cloud.

Having a copy of your data means you should be able to backup and restore it to the original source should there be an issue.

How do you plan for backups?

The actual planning of a backup routine is fairly simple. You decide what you need to backup, how long you need to keep it for and how often you need to back it up.

The complications come with things like:

  • How much data needs to be backed up?
  • What kind of data needs to be backed up?
  • What kind of infrastructure are you backing up from?
  • What your budget is.
  • How quickly do you need your data back?

Once you have answered these questions, it will become clear what type of solution you will need.

If you already know which system you want to go for, but want to discuss this with an expert, get in touch with the team at Netitude! We offer this type of guidance as part of our fully managed IT service.

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There are many backup solutions all offering different approaches to solving the problem and it’s entirely possible that no one solution will address all of the issue in one environment. Most businesses like to use a mixture of taking hard copies and backup via The Cloud.

The different types of backup:

Cloud backup

Cloud-based backup schedules and data to be protected are set up via a web-based control panel and the backups are copied to a secure location across the Internet.

Cloud backup removes the need for onsite hardware or capital expenses, which is well-suited to smaller companies that may outgrow storage too quickly, as storage can be added as needed.

Backup and restore can be initiated from anywhere, using any computer, tablet, or smartphone and can be backed up in the cloud as regularly as 15-minute intervals, minimising data losses in disaster situations. Small data set recovery time is improved.

However, the costs of the data recovery could outweigh the benefits for companies that are not as dependent on uptime and instant recovery and full data recovery could prove very time-consuming and impactful on systems. If the Internet goes down on your side or on your cloud provider’s side, you won’t have access to any of your information.

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Local (Traditional) backup

The local or traditional approach usually means an initial full copy of the data is taken and each subsequent day only the blocks of data that have changed are copied over. Often this data is copied onto tape or disks and stored offsite.

A local backup gives you physical control over your backups, removing the need for third-party access to your information and doesn’t rely on an Internet connection to access data. This can be a cost-effective option for small to mid-sized companies, however, it does require capital investment in hardware and infrastructure.

You will also need space in your office for a rack or server room/closet, in addition to dedicated IT support. If you don’t have space, you may need to store your data off-site, which will reduce the time you can get back up and running in the event of a disaster. You are also more than likely to have gaps of missing data between saves and there are no uptime or recovery time guarantees.

Even a successful backup means you have a copy of your data but it doesn’t guarantee you can access it as quickly as you might need to. When time is critical, this is where a Disaster Recovery plan comes into play.

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What is Disaster Recovery?

Disaster Recovery goes beyond having a backup. It means having a plan and technical solution in place that will keep the core components of your business functioning should the worst happen.

To create a DR plan, you must first identify the key systems required to keep your business running in the event of an incident that takes your normal infrastructure offline. This could be a natural disaster like a hurricane, flooding, a fire, or malicious event such as cyber-attack.

Making a Disaster Recovery plan includes:

  • Identify the key systems your business cannot function without.
  • Decide how long your business could function with each of the key systems offline.
  • Establish how much data, if any, your business can afford to lose.
  • Decide how a DR system would take over: manually or automatically.
  • Determine the DR system’s hand back process.

DR solutions can take many forms, ranging from restoring systems from backups to a system that automatically takes over when the primary system is lost.

Disaster Recovery allows you to rebuild and run your entire IT system until your primary environment is back working. A backup strategy in partnership with the right approach to Disaster Recovery, managed by trusted and experienced people, means you will have your Business Continuity covered. This is where a Backup and Disaster Recovery solution comes in.

The benefit of Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) as a service

BDR is a combination of data backup and disaster recovery solutions that work together to ensure a company’s business continuity.

A business is built on data that is collected and earned over time. Often, the true worth of that data can only be fully realised when it is lost through disaster striking. A study by the British Chambers of Commerce discovered that 93% of businesses that had a data loss for over 10 days went bankrupt within a year, 50% immediately.

A backup and disaster recovery solution means it’s possible for your data to be saved both on equipment on your premises and in the cloud. When time is money, this is potentially a business saving proposition. It means your company is protected, your data safeguarded and gives you a ‘bullet-proof’ business continuity plan that will allow you to sleep at night.

At Netitude, we embrace the latest cloud-based solutions for our backup & disaster recovery service. Meaning our client's business data is safe and secure no matter the type of disruptive event that may occur. If you would like security peace of mind, please get in touch with one of our experienced and friendly staff, today!


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