Differences between backup and disaster recovery

Carrying out both actions can avoid losses in your business. Does your company have an adequate plan to preserve its information?

Luciano Fernández
4 min read

What company hasn't faced the loss of vital project information due to problems in the system? The current work dynamic and the range of platforms teams operate increase the chances of these events happening. So security strategy should be significant for any organization or IT project. In this scenario, creating backups of vital data is just a part of a broader strategy that must include a disaster recovery plan. Understanding its scope and implementation helps develop actions to avoid high-impact consequences, such as downtime and business interruptions.

What do we mean by backup in IT?

Backing up is the process of periodically creating a copy of data and files to prevent information loss in case of device theft, accidents, or technical issues. A backup can be carried out offline or online. An offline backup refers to contracting a service that handles the creation of security copies and is located within the company, so the client can always access the data.


An online backup, in turn, can behave as a complement to the offline backup, storing the information on an external server with the highest security parameters. In both cases, automated systems are used to optimize the storage capacity. That is to say, the information stored is entirely new or has been recently changed. In general, it is not necessary to back up temporary files.

Why it is important to plan for disaster recovery

Creating a security backup of files and information is one thing, but recovering them is an entirely different task. Disaster recovery is a plan to quickly restore access to applications, data, and IT resources after an unexpected disruption. The term "disaster" not only means serious events, but it also includes minor issues. Having this plan operative will allow employees to continue working on a duplicate system in case of complete network failure. Disaster recovery involves, for example, the sudden switch to another set of servers and storage systems while the company's core data center is being restored. In case of a heavy failure, having a backup ensures that the business can continue operating.

How to plan for disaster recovery

Backing up is much more easily achieved than disaster recovery, which involves an end-to-end strategy. Disaster recovery includes the following:


#1 Inventorying every IT asset owned by the company to perform a risk assessment.


#2 Classifying each item based on its relevance. At this point, it is necessary to identify those items that are needed to meet the company's strategic goal (and which may not be essential in the first phase of disaster recovery), those that can continue to operate even if damaged, and those that are indispensable for the operation of the business.


#3 Elaborating a budget. Defining the costs a business faces for every minute of downtime in the IT industry is higher than in any other industry. Also, it is necessary to allocate a portion of the overall budget to disaster recovery. Statistics show that companies usually assign between 2% and 8% to disaster recovery, although experts recommend it should better be around 15%.


#4 Defining the RTO and RPO. Recovery time objective (RTO) is the amount of time required to go back to normal business operations after an interruption occurs. The challenge is to define the reasonable period a business can afford an interruption. On the other hand, Recovery Point Objective (RPO) refers to the amount of data that a company can afford to lose in the event of a disaster. If a system failure happens within an organization, the recovery point enables restoring the data saved as part of the most recent backup. It also defines the age of the files to be recovered.


Backups are just a part of an end-to-end disaster recovery plan. At Awkbit, we can advise you on the best way to optimize your IT security strategy.

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