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Disaster Recovery vs Backup: Understand the Key Differences

By April 3, 2022No Comments12 min read
Disaster Recovery vs Backup

Companies are always confused between normal backup and disaster recovery (DR). If you want to have a good disaster recovery strategy, then you need to invest some money into it. Disaster recovery and backups overlap in their objectives and methods. However, these practices have completely different aims. It is important to understand the difference between backup and disaster recovery. This will help you in creating an effective security strategy for your business.

In this article, we are going to talk about the key differences between disaster recovery and backups. Both of these practices will help you in protecting your business from unwanted downtime and data loss. We are going to examine both concepts in this article. This will help you in deploying the correct solution for your business.

Disaster Recovery vs Backup

Both data backups and disaster recovery will help you in protecting your business from data loss. There are two different practices that you can use for protecting your data:

  • Disaster Recovery (DR): Disaster Recovery is a plan which will help you in responding your business to a major incident. It will switch to an alternative IT infrastructure. Disaster recovery will ensure that your critical functions are running seamlessly. It will help you in protecting your business from human-made and natural disasters.
  • Backup: Backup is simply an extra copy of your data. You can store this data in another storage device like cloud storage, flash drive, and hard drive. If you have lost some important data, then you can recover your data from your backup files.

Backups are a very important part of your IT security strategy. It will help you in protecting your business from data loss. However, it is not a substitute for a disaster recovery plan. Data copies won’t help you in ensuring business continuity. If you want to ensure business continuity, then you will need a disaster recovery plan.

Definition of a Backup

A backup is a virtual or physical copy of your data. This will help you in restoring a file if your file gets deleted. Data backup is very important as it will help you in preventing data loss. You can lose data in these cases:

  • Natural disasters like earthquakes and fires.
  • Technical issues like failed software updates and database corruption.
  • Employee accidents like lost devices and accidental file deletion.
  • Data thefts like ransomware attacks and data breaches.

Organizations are generally creating data backups after every hour or day. This will ensure that they can easily recover their data. You should ensure that your backups are staying updated. It is a good idea to keep these data save points in various locations and media.

It is easy to set up a good backup process. Your IT security team needs to identify sensitive data and choose a backup type. They need to decide the duration of your backup. Ensure that you are complying with your storage requirements.

Different Types of Backups

The three main types of backups are:

  • Full backup: You will copy your entire data set in this type of backup. It is simple to set up and highly reliable. However, you need a lot of storage for storing the full backup. This will also eat a lot of network bandwidth.
  • Incremental backup: In this type of backup you will only update the files that have changed after the last backup. Incremental backup takes the least space and is the fastest backup type. You can perform this back up with very little network bandwidth. However, the restoration process will be time-consuming. It is impossible to recover your data if even one incremental backup is missing.
  • Differential backup: You will only backup the files that have changed after the last full backup. This will help you efficiently use your storage space. They are quicker when compared to full backups. However, it will use more space and network bandwidth when compared to incremental backup.

You can use multiple backup types for improving your business resilience. Every organization should follow the 3-2-1 backup rule. This simply means that you should have 3 copies of your data. 2 of these copies should be stored on-site and one copy will be stored in an off-site copy.

Definition of a Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery or DR is a set of procedures and policies which will help your company in quickly regain your IT systems during a disaster. The backup will only help you in creating restorable data points. DR is a complete strategy that will help you in ensuring business continuity. It will help you in ensuring that you can operate your business even during a disaster.

A DR plan will help you in switching to a redundant set of storage systems and servers. Your backup infrastructure will support the operations when your primary data center is down. Once your primary data center is up you can switch back to the primary data center.

If you don’t have a DR plan, then a disaster can have a huge impact on your organization. It will lead to permanent data loss. Due to this, you will lose revenue and sales. Also, your recovery costs will be very high. It will disrupt your supply chains. Your customer and employee satisfaction will go down. If you want to protect your business reputation, then you should ensure that you have a Disaster Recovery plan.

Disaster Recovery plan

Your disaster recovery plan will be a business-wide and formal document. It will outline the company approach that you will follow for dealing with an unfortunate event. You should ensure that your DR plan includes these things:

  • Your DR policy plan overview should be mentioned in starting.
  • All your recovery goals should be mentioned.
  • You should have a guide for dealing with every type of disaster.
  • You should have a complete network diagram.
  • An asset map will help you in recovering your IT infrastructure.
  • It should include the actions for solving the legal issue.
  • You should have all the technical documents.
  • A list of systems should be present. It will help you in the disaster recovery process.
  • Contact of your DR team members should be included.

Every business will have a different DR plan. However, every plan will have some common features. Here are some tips that you can follow:

  1. Map your IT assets: Your DR plan should have a list of IT assets. This will include your software, critical data, hardware, and cloud. All the dependencies of these assets should be mentioned also. You should order these assets according to their importance.
  2. Test your DR policies: You should conduct regular tests. This will help you in ensuring that your DR plan is still relevant and efficient. Your IT infrastructure will change with time. Thus, your DR policies should also change with time.
  3. Create a dedicated team: Your DR team will include staff members who will be responsible for implementing and designing the DR plan.
  4. Risk evaluation: You should start by doing a risk assessment. This will help you in finding the business risk. Thus, you can prepare for these threats.
  5. Regularly update your DR plan: Your DR plan is going to be a living document. It will evolve with your organization. Make sure that you are adopting the strategy whenever you are doing some change in your organization. This will help you in ensuring that there are no vulnerabilities in your plan.

Key Differences between disaster recovery and backup

The main difference between disaster recovery and backup are:

  1. Different purposes

Backups will help you in gaining access to your lost files like a Powerpoint presentation or an email. They are generally used for long-term data storage. It will help you in data retention. If you want to quickly restore your business operations after some disaster, then you need a disaster recovery strategy. DR solutions and DR site will help you in transforming workloads to backup machines and servers. It will ensure that you can continue your business operations even when your primary site is down.

  1. Different RTP and RPO

Recovery point objective and recovery time objective are very important metrics for every business. Backups will have longer RPOs and RTOs. Thus, they are not good for your business-critical data. You can’t use backups for quickly recovering your data after a disaster.

Disaster recovery will help you in solving this problem. You can replicate your important VMs. The main aim of this is to reduce the failover time. DR can offer you shorter RPOs and RTOs.

  1. Resource allocation

Backups don’t need much storage space or attention. You can easily automate the entire backup process. Disaster recovery will need a separate site. You need to set up a different site with your IT infrastructure. This will help you in ensuring that you can easily this infrastructure in case of a disaster.

  1. Planning

The backup process is very simple. You don’t need to create a complicated plan for backing up your data. All you need to do is create and stick to your RPOs. Disaster recovery is a complicated process. You need to do proper planning for your disaster recovery process. It is important to evaluate your business applications. You should have a priority recovery order. This will help you in properly recovering your application and data in case of a disaster.


DRaaS is a managed approach for solving the disaster recovery problem. You can outsource your disaster recovery process to a third-party provider. They will help you in managing and hosting your backup infrastructure. Their plans will be available on pay-per-use or subscription bases.

If you don’t have an in-house DR team, then going for the DRaaS is the perfect option for you. It will help you in eliminating the cost of setting up and managing your own IT backup infrastructure. You can also free up your IT staff. They don’t need to worry about maintaining your backups manually. Service Level agreements will ensure that you are getting the best service.

DRaaS will offer various benefits to your business. It will help you in scaling your IT infrastructure. If you want to expand your business, then you will need disaster recovery options for your business. DRaaS will ensure that you can easily scale up your backup infrastructure. It will also provide a lot of flexibility to your business. You won’t get locked in one database, backup, or server technology. It will allow you to choose any technology you want.

If you have an in-house DR system, then it will be vulnerable to data breaches. Your critical data can get leaked. This will have a huge impact on your business reputation. DRaaS will help you in accessing a more secure IT infrastructure backup. You will also get access to encrypted data storage. This will help you in protecting your data from attackers.


You can’t protect your business by just backing up your data. It won’t help you in maintaining business continuity during an incident. If your company suffers from a major event, then you need a disaster recovery plan for recovering your business. You can’t guarantee business continuity until you have a good disaster recovery plan. Disasters are always a matter of when. It can hit your business at any time. Thus, it is important to protect your business by creating a good disaster recovery plan.

A good disaster recovery plan will help you in ensuring business continuity. It will help you in saving your business reputation. You can also save a lot of money by minimizing downtime. SMBs should consider partnering up with a good MSP for solving this problem. Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire will help you in creating a perfect Disaster recovery plan for your business. You don’t need to worry about creating this plan by yourself. Bleuwire will also help you in maintain business continuity during a disaster. You don’t need to worry about hiring a large IT department for your business. This will help you in saving both your resources and money. If you need more information regarding IT services, then you can contact Bleuwire.

Contact us today to learn about Bleuwire™  services and solutions in how we can help your business.