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Both respond to events that disrupt normal business operations and help to resume services as quickly as possible. Creating plans for both business continuity and disaster recovery requires a risk assessment of IT infrastructure and all critical business functions. Both are also ongoing processes that require regular review and new threats adapt and evolve. It is critical for businesses to completely understand both BC and DR to plan and execute both strategies effectively.

What is business continuity?

Business Continuity (BC) or a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) refers to a strategy or plan that encapsulates protocols that ensure that a business can maintain an operation level of business function even in a disaster.

What is disaster recovery?

Disaster Recovery (DR) or a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) is a strategy that outlines the process of resolving a disruption after the event has happened. DRP’s usually focus on finding the source of the issue, blocking it, recovering any lost data, and getting the business back up and running as soon as possible.

Difference between Disaster Recovery Plan & Business Continuity Plan

A business may have different DRPs that cover other kinds of disasters, such as natural disasters or cyberattacks.

BCP is more proactive as it refers to implementing processes and procedures to ensure a business remains at a healthy level of operations in case a disaster ever happens.

Whereas a DRP is a reactive plan of what actions to take once the incident has already occurred.

Another key difference is the scope each approach has. A BCP encompasses all business functions needed to keep the business operational, no matter the type of crisis or event. A DRP focuses on specific systems or data that has been impacted by the event and looks at restoring those affected as quickly as possible.

The components of a BCP and a DRP vary from business to business. However, there are vital steps that each plan should include.

  • A business continuity plan should include:
  • Define your business continuity team
  • Perform a business impact analysis
  • Outline your crisis communication channels
  • Train and educate your employees
  • Test, monitor, and maintain your strategy regularly

A disaster recovery plan should include:

  • Define your disaster recovery team
  • Identify business-critical functions and potential vulnerabilities
  • Create a disaster recovery plan
  • Create backup procedures
  • Train and educate staff
  • Regularly test, analyze, and maintain the DR plan

Another key difference between business continuity plans and disaster recovery plans is when they are actioned. A business continuity plan is set in motion as the crisis or event is happening and is sustained throughout until the crisis has been resolved.

A disaster recovery plan, on the other hand, activates once the emergency has passed and would continue until the business gets to “normal.”