The Important Difference Between Backups Disaster Recovery—And What It Means for Your Business

If you’ve ever worked all night on a business project or presentation—only to get hit by a power outage right before you saved the final version—you know how important it is to back up your work. It doesn’t matter if it’s a PowerPoint presentation, an Excel spreadsheet, a Word document, or hours of coding. You don’t want to have to recreate your work. And sometimes you can’t.


Now envision a scenario in which you not only lose the document you were working on, but you also lose the information—and even the tools—you used to create that document.


Or consider what would happen if you lost all client records and data. Think about the implications if you lost all of your financial information, your business plans, or all of your contact information. Any of those scenarios could be a real disaster. And if you lost the systems that allow you to access your data having simple backup copies wouldn’t help you.


That—at a very basic level—is one of the big differences between performing backups and having disaster recovery capability. As important as it is to back up your work, that one act won’t save you if your whole system goes down.


Some businesses don’t pay attention to disaster recovery because they consider the potential of an actual “disaster” to be minuscule. They figure it’s not going to happen to them. Unfortunately, systems sometimes crash. And these days, cyber attacks and invasive malware are more prevalent than ever before. On top of that, equipment can be damaged in a move (something that occurs if you’re in a growing company that needs more space).


Big disasters can come from small sources. To be honest, most security threats don’t come from hackers breaking through your firewall. They come from inside your company. Since people aren’t perfect in their use of the web, it’s vital to have a systematic process to secure each computer (including third-party applications), to limit this security risk.


A lack of disaster recovery capability is something that can catch small-but-growing companies off guard. If you’re in a smaller company that’s scaling up, you may still be operating (somewhat) as individuals. Each person or department is responsible for maintaining information and systems that pertain only to what they are working on. There’s no over-arching strategy, system, or approach for the entire organization. And there is no redundancy.


Redundancy: It’s More Than Just Repeating Yourself

When you hear the term “redundancy” in terms of systems, software, and data, it’s not just about having backup copies of everything sitting on a shelf. It’s about being able to restore all of your information and the systems that you depend on to do your work. Redundancy means that even if you have a disaster with your in-house system, you’ve got the ability to restore and recreate your system quickly—with a minimal amount of data loss.


Effective redundancy doesn’t just come from having copies of your data (or even your operational software) onsite. To ensure your ability to recover quickly, you need to have everything mirrored offsite—and ready to be accessed whether your disaster comes in the form of a systems breach or an actual natural disaster such as fire, flooding, hurricanes, tornados or other calamities.


Too many companies overlook disaster recovery because they are convinced it couldn’t happen to them. But before you dismiss the idea of having a redundant system, consider these questions:

  • If you lost data at 4:40 PM, would you lose a whole day’s worth of work?
  • Could a disgruntled employee sabotage and destroy your business?
  • What would the impact be on your business if your server and local backups were physically stolen or damaged?
  • If your network were hacked, what would your liability be?


For us, disaster recovery isn’t just preparation for something that might happen. We’ve had clients who have had system failures that could have crippled their companies. Instead—because they had a solid disaster recovery plan and systems in place—they were able to be up and running within a short period of time, without missing a beat.


Backing up your files is a good step, but having a disaster recovery plan in place covers all of your bases. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you achieve that.

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