Data Protection 101: Backups Vs. Disaster Recovery Explained


Whether you’re a retail business using point-of-sale software or a hospital storing patient records electronically, data loss can be catastrophic. That’s why backup and disaster recovery are crucial for every organization.

But what are the differences between traditional backup and disaster recovery? This article will explain how they both help keep data safe and guarantee business continuity.


Data backups are the bedrock of any digital disaster recovery strategy. They’re a crucial component of protecting the information that drives an organization’s operations and safeguarding against cyberattacks, including ransomware.

A backup is a copy of data that can be restored to the original state in the event of an attack, hardware failure, or other data loss event. When done correctly, data backups can be used to restore files and even entire systems.

In order to be effective, a data backup needs to be reliable. A reliable backup allows an organization to recover quickly and minimize downtime. A well-documented backup policy and a strong test schedule help to ensure that the backups can be used in the event of an incident.

Backing up and restoring data can be a lengthy process. To speed up this process, an organization should consider using deduplication. This technology helps to reduce backup times by reducing the amount of data that is being saved. In addition, backups should be encrypted to prevent hackers from accessing the sensitive information they contain. Encryption can also be helpful to avoid the costly consequences of malware or ransomware attacks that target backup servers. Lastly, it is important to make sure that backups are disconnected when not in use. Doing this will greatly reduce the chance of them becoming infected with ransomware or malware that could spread to the production environment.

Disaster Recovery

Data backups are a crucial part of disaster recovery planning, but they are only one component. To fully protect business systems and operations, a full disaster recovery plan must be implemented. Disaster recovery plans are highly documented processes that outline what will happen in the event of an unplanned event, such as a natural disaster or cyber attack. These plans ensure that critical processes can be restored quickly so businesses can continue operating.

In addition to detailed procedures, an effective disaster recovery plan should include testing and monitoring. Testing must be conducted regularly to ensure that backups are functioning properly. If not, an organization can find itself in a difficult situation when backups fail or are rendered useless by a configuration issue or software error.

A disaster recovery solution can help to protect your data from disasters and outages by automatically restoring critical systems and applications at any time, in any order. This type of solution can also reduce your RTO and RPO by ensuring that interdependent processes are recovered in the correct order, at the right point in time.

In addition to the technical aspects of a disaster recovery solution, consider the user experience when choosing a provider. You want a solution that is easy to use for both you and your employees. Ask for product videos or live demos to see how intuitive the solution is to use before making a purchase.

Recovery Time Objective (RTO)

When it comes to creating backup and recovery strategies, RTO is one of the most important considerations for business owners. This measures how quickly systems, applications and data need to be restored following a disaster.

This can help you decide how long you’re willing to let your business remain offline, and helps IT teams determine how much time they need to spend restoring critical data after an incident. RTOs are typically defined through a process of conducting a business impact analysis (BIA). This helps identify the most critical applications, data and services as well as their value to the company. It’s also possible to set different RTOs for specific applications based on their priority – for example, how fast an organization needs to restore sales transactions versus employee-related data.

Once you have a clear understanding of your RTOs, it’s important to develop a DR strategy that allows you to meet those goals. This can include implementing redundancies in your systems, automating processes and increasing the number of snapshots of your data. It’s also essential to test your RTOs regularly to ensure you can meet them in the event of a disaster. This way, you can find any issues that may need to be resolved before they become a major problem in the future. RTOs can be hard to measure, but a good test is to see how quickly you can recover your system from an incident and get back to work.

Recovery Point Objective (RPO)

When it comes to backups and disaster recovery, the RPO metric is important because it lets you know how much data loss is acceptable during a disaster. It sets a target for the amount of time that a business can tolerate downtime before it starts to impact productivity, profits and customer satisfaction.

This metric takes into account the criticality of your data, how often it changes and your backup infrastructure. For instance, if you have high-churn, mission-critical data, you may need to back it up more frequently to ensure that your RPO is as low as possible. Likewise, sensitive information like patient records may require backups to be performed every 6 hours due to laws that oversee their storage and handling.

To set an appropriate RPO for your business, IT and application teams should work together to identify what information is most valuable to the organization. This can include intellectual property, customer data and sensitive health or financial information. From there, they can determine how often the data needs to be backed up to protect it from loss. RPOs should be calculated in conjunction with the Recovery Time Objective during disaster recovery planning, and should be regularly evaluated to ensure that they reflect your business’s needs. By doing so, you can reduce the risk of downtime and improve data resiliency.

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