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What is the Difference Between Data Backup and Business Continuity?

November 04, 2021 - Disaster Recovery, Cybersecurity & Compliance

What is the Difference Between Data Backup and Business Continuity?
Carrie Flanagan

Posted by Carrie Flanagan

Imagine your business is hit with a ransomware attack or a natural disaster.

Could your business handle several days of downtime? What about the financial repercussions of losing sensitive data?

The reality is it’s not a question of if, but when your business is digitally compromised. Knowing the difference between typical backup software and business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) solutions is critical for businesses to mitigate disruptions to operations with minimal loss of data.

Before diving into the differences between traditional backups and business continuity solutions, let’s discuss why an organization of any size needs a backup solution.

Why the Size of Your Business Can’t Protect You Against Cybercrime

When it comes to cybercrimes, ransomware attacks are indiscriminate in their targeting. No matter the size of an organization, if a business stores data or private information, they might be a target for cybercrime.

Though small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are beginning to invest in digital security, they remain targeted due to a shortage of resources to defend against malicious cybersecurity attacks. Forty-three percent of cyber attacks target small businesses, and an alarming 83% of SMBs feel unprepared to handle a cyber attack if and when it occurs.

Over the past two years, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) report that the average cost of downtime due to ransomware has increased from $46,800 to $274,200. The increased cost of downtime is a bill most SMBs cannot afford. Regardless of their size, SMBs need to understand that the sensitive data they store makes them an attractive target for cybercrime.

Businesses of all sizes can partner with a trusted BCDR service provider to reduce their overall financial liability, ensure regulatory compliance, and quickly and efficiently restore business-critical information with minimal disruption.

>> Learn how to confidently combat and prevent ransomware with the Insider’s  Guide to Ransomware: Prevention and Recovery eBook.

Key Differences Between Data Backup and Business Continuity

A data backup solution and a business continuity solution, also referred to as BCDR solution, represent two uniquely different mindsets in data protection. Businesses need to leverage both of these solutions and not choose one solution over the other.

Data Backup Solutions

Traditional data backup solutions address data security issues and help businesses restore data in case of failure. Data backup refers to a timely copy of company data that is stored on an alternate storage device and at a separate location. When a disaster occurs, backup copies simply need to be loaded and restored onto a company server. Traditional data backup solutions are still effective disaster recovery strategies for one-off recovery situations, such as recovering deleted files or restoring from a crashed hard drive.

It is important to note that while data backup solutions are still a key starting point for effective disaster recovery, businesses may need a more comprehensive contingency plan in the event of a critical disaster. During a critical disaster whether that be cybercrime, fire, flood, tornado, or other natural disasters, the infrastructure an organization needs to restore data may have been damaged or permanently destroyed. This is where a more comprehensive business continuity solution comes into play.

Business Continuity Solutions

Business continuity solutions differ from data backup solutions as they address how quickly an organization can restore business-critical operations in case of a system failure. A business continuity solution that is proactively implemented and tested provides the victim company the ever-important option for rapid rollback to restore data to a previously backed up state.

The best way to understand the difference and unique benefits of a comprehensive business continuity solution is through a hypothetical situation.

Imagine a business’s server dies. If the business only had a backup solution that does file-level backups, employees wouldn’t have the ability to return to business-critical work. Before business operations can return, the server would need to be replaced, software and data would need to be re-installed, and the entire system would need to be configured with the appropriate settings and preferences. This entire process could take days or even weeks, resulting in considerable lost revenue due to downtime.

With a business continuity solution, an image-based backup is utilized instead of a file-based backup. An image-based backup captures an image of data in its environment, providing exact replications of what is stored on a company’s server including the operating system, configurations, settings, and preferences. This allows businesses to quickly restore data and business-critical operations if a server goes down. Since business continuity solutions are taking a full image of the data on servers, MSPs are able to create a virtual machine (VM) which is a virtual instance of a server. The VM provides businesses a way to access the tools and data they need to return to business as usual.

Companies that choose to implement a business continuity solution will:

  • Quickly and efficiently restore business-critical information
  • Reduce downtime
  • Reduce overall financial liability
  • Detect ransomware attacks in real-time
  • Ensure regulatory compliance
  • Help continually optimize security

Protect Your Company with a Business Continuity Solution

Implementing a data backup and business continuity solution needs to be a top priority for organizations as cybersecurity risks continue to grow in frequency and severity. To ensure data protection and limited disruption to operations, businesses should consult a data protection and recovery specialist to help them choose the right solution for their business.

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Carrie Flanagan

about the author

Carrie Flanagan

Carrie Flanagan-Sullivan is an Account Executive for SymQuest, based out of West Lebanon, NH and Rutland, VT. She’s passionate about empowering her clients with ways to scale up their security, and find better ways to prepare for a disaster. She utilizes trusted partnerships and a collaborative spirit to bring enterprise solutions direct to the client.