The Difference between Disaster Recovery and Data Recovery


When you consider disaster recovery and data backup, you may think they are both the same, but that is the furthest thing from the truth. If you are routinely backing up your data, it doesn’t mean that you have a good disaster recovery plan. Let’s explain.


Data Backup

What is data backup? It is when you make a copy of your original data, transferring it and making it available on an alternative medium. What is the purpose of this? Well, if there is a disaster where your network system crashes, you will have a hard time retrieving the data. When you do a data transfer, you will be able to recover missing data and do so in a timely manner. However, this is not what you would call disaster recovery.


Disaster Recovery

What is disaster recovery? It is a plan that goes through a documented procedure before a disaster occurs. This documentation is then used as a contingency plan to resolve any situation where data is lost due to a catastrophe within an organization. To summarize, data backup is included in the disaster recovery plan. However, data backup is only a small part of the disaster recovery concept.


Digging Deeper

Let’s dig deeper into data backup! When this procedure is performed, existing data is being copied onto a medium where you can have easy access to it. The data is archived over a period of time so that even if the data is old, it can also be retrieved. Archived data is mandated by the company’s compliance policy. There has to be rules set in place to determine how far back data should be archived. Copies of the data may have to be archived in an off-site location. Doing so will ensure that if anything occurs, data can be rebuilt using the information stored on the alternative medium in the off-site location.


The Connection

This is where disaster recovery now comes in. While data backup is still essential to the process, it is also important to plan and test the backup so that when it comes time to recover the data, you are sure that it is still available for recovery. Many organizations fail to do so and then when time comes to recovery data, it is soon realized that the data is not accessible. Disaster recovery does not only include retrieving data, but also possibly moving employees to a new facility and being able to access various resources. If a disaster caused the company’s IT infrastructure to be demolished, then the ability to restored from a previous data backup would be imperative. By maximizing the ability to restore data quickly, a good disaster recovery plan will minimize the effect on business operations, personnel and other resources.



Disaster recovery plans and data backup plans are essential to the efficiency of an IT department. Having an outsourced team of IT professionals handling your information technology before a disaster takes place is one of the best steps that can be taken to ensure that your data can be recovered.


Posted on May 3, 2016 in Information Technology

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About the Author

Marc enjoys working closely with other entrepreneurs helping them leverage technology to enhance success! Boasting 2 decades of I.T. consulting expertise, Marc continues to contribute in many forums, and offers technology insights through our regular newsletter and by speaking publicly across California. He contributes regularly to our blog and actively assists our team here at TechWorks as a virtual CIO consultant.

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