In consulting with so many clients, there are some things that just seem to be universal. One of those nearly universal truths, is the tendency for clients to mix and match or use the terms, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity interchangeably. While these two terms define activities that often parallel each other, they are in fact very different concepts. The confusion or mixing of the terms can lead to clients being misled, or even left at significant risk, due to improper planning.
So, why are they different you ask? Business Continuity generally involves those activities and contingencies that are put in place to allow an organization to function (often at a degraded level) after a significant disaster, such as a flood, fire, earthquake, etc. This is also known as an Emergency Mode of Operations Plan or EMOP. This plan is designed to be the “temporary” replacement of those critical functions and services that you rely on from basic level to run your business. It is designed to be the pre-agreed roadmap to immediate stop-gap actions that allow you to make your revenue and keep critical employees working. This includes communications, billing, employee time recording, payroll, etc. This could involve something as simple as using a cell phone network for a short time in the event of a land-line failure, or even moving into a temporary location after a major disaster and setting up a call center, triage or other services. It involves those pre-agreed actions by employees, vendors, partners and other interested parties that are understood and tested prior to a disaster or major emergency.
On the other hand, the Disaster Recovery Plan, involves the steps it will take to bring your company back to normal or pre-disaster conditions. It generally will be in parallel to the EMOP and can take from hours to weeks or months to complete. It involves the accurate consideration of all assets, activities, people, and risks. The plan prescribes those actions it will take to rebuild what was damaged. So, when you are discussing the issue of disaster and emergency planning, make sure you are speaking the same language as the others in your organization and clearly define the expectations of each. This will mean that you do not find yourself lacking critical information, and above all, you will avoid potential business killing delays and losses from having missed critical areas of the process. To learn more about one amazing solution we offer, follow this link to ourDRworX Solutions.