data backup vs. disaster recovery

Should your company invest in disaster recovery (DR) solutions, or just data backups would be enough to mitigate emergencies?

While backups and disaster recovery sound similar, data backup is an action that is part of the larger concept of disaster recovery.

Data loss may be terrifying and have major financial consequences. A downtime can set in all of a sudden, it does not always give tech teams the leeway to take a data backup.

It could be as minor as an employee opening an infected email or as serious as a natural disaster. You will regret not having a disaster recovery plan for your data.

Understanding the distinction between a data backup and disaster recovery is critical for developing a well-rounded, successful security plan.

Data Backup vs. Disaster Recovery

Both disaster recovery and data backups safeguard you in the case of a catastrophe, however they are not the same thing:

A data backup is an additional physical or virtual copy of data on another storage device (hard disk, CD/DVD, flash drive, cloud storage, and so on). If you accidentally delete a file, you can recover it from a backup.

Disaster recovery (DR) is a step-by-step procedure for responding to a significant disaster by transferring to a backup IT infrastructure.

Disaster recovery guarantees that vital functions continue to operate normally in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.

While data backups are essential for security, they are not the same as a disaster recovery plan.

If you face a regional outage or a large-scale cyberattack, data copies will not be enough to maintain company continuity.

What Exactly is a Data Backup?

A data backup is a physical or virtual copy of data that allows you to restore a file if the original is lost or damaged. Having a backup is critical for avoiding data loss in the following scenarios:

  • Theft of data (office break-ins, data breaches, ransomware attacks, stolen laptops, etc.).
  • Employee accidents (accidental file deletion, misplaced device, data leaking, etc.).
  • Technical difficulties (crashed hard drive, database corruption, failed software upgrades, etc.).
  • Natural calamities (fires, storms, earthquakes, etc.).

Companies often generate data backups at regular intervals (every few hours, once per day, monthly, etc.) to guarantee backups remain current.

These “data save points” can be kept on multiple media and locations, both on-premises and in the cloud.

The data backup method is pretty straightforward because your security team must:

  • Determine sensitive data.
  • Select a backup type.
  • Determine how long you need to store backups and how frequently you need to backup data.
  • Determine the best data backup interval.
  • Determine incidents where a company may lose data.
  • Check that backups meet data storage requirements.
  • Staff should be trained on proper data backup procedures.

Backup Data Types – Full, Differential & Incremental

1# Full backup

Pros – A complete duplicate of the data collection; easy to set up; very dependable.

Cons – Requires the largest data backup storage space and consumes the most network bandwidth.

2# Differential backup

Pros – efficient use of storage capacity; faster than full backups; faster restoration than incremental backups

Cons– Consumes more network traffic and storage space than incremental data backups.

3# Incremental backup

Pros: takes up the least amount of space; is the quickest data backup kind; and consumes relatively little network traffic.

Cons: Time-consuming restoration; full restoration is difficult if one of the incremental backups is missing.

Related: Cloud Backup: Differential vs. Incremental

There is no reason why multiple data backup methods cannot be used concurrently to increase resilience. 

The 3-2-1 backup rule, which stands for three copies of data on two types of media with one off-site copy, should be followed. Data backups may be stored in three ways:

3-2-1 backup rule

Local backup – Backup to a local device near the data source is known as “local backup” (tapes, disks, hard and flash drives, CDs, etc.).

Off-site backup – A copy of the data backup is kept at a location other than the original.

Online backup – Refers to the use of a third-party service to backup data remotely over the Internet, generally on a cloud-based server.

What Exactly is Disaster Recovery?

Disaster recovery (DR) refers to a collection of policies and processes that allow a corporation to swiftly restore access to its IT systems after a natural or man-made disaster.

Disaster recovery, as opposed to data backup, is a comprehensive approach for guaranteeing business continuity in many situations that might impair (or fully cease) important activities.

Here are some examples of unanticipated events in disaster recovery:

  • Cyberattacks (virus, DDoS, ransomware, APT attacks, etc.). 
  • Sabotage (both from an external and interior danger) 
  • There are power outages.
  • Failure of equipment.
  • An act of terrorism.
  • Data loss is a costly mistake.
  • The network goes down.
  • A workplace mishap.
  • A natural calamity

A disaster recovery strategy should include the capacity to transition to a redundant set of servers and storage systems.

In times of crisis, this data backup infrastructure kicks in and sustains operations until the primary data center is operational again.

Based on how quickly you can get a site up and running, there are three types of disaster recovery facilities:

  • Hot site with all the necessary equipment, technology, and up-to-date data.
  • Warm site with all essential equipment and technology but no up-to-date data.
  • Cold site that solely hosts the IT infrastructure.

Backup vs. Disaster Recovery: Do Not Ignore Incidents

Data backups alone will not keep your organization going in the event of an emergency. Any business that wishes to withstand a significant unforeseen occurrence should have a disaster recovery strategy in place.

There is no way to guarantee business continuity without disaster recovery, and statistics clearly show that disasters happen “when,” not “if.

Data backup is one thing; disaster recovery is quite another. You should have a disaster recovery strategy in place for many situations, including one in which your infrastructure stays intact but your data is lost and another in which you must put up completely new infrastructure and then restore data to it.

If you want to get the best data backup and disaster recovery plan for your organization, Exabytes can help you with all in one cyber protection solutions. Contact us now to learn more.

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