What is 'disaster recovery'?
Disaster recovery is the steps a business takes to overcome disaster so that the business can keep running. It is distinct from business continuity. Disaster recovery focuses solely on the restoration of the technology and hardware a business uses (e.g., computers), whereas business continuity focuses on the entire business system and function (e.g., making sure products can still be distributed).
Disaster recovery should be a major consideration for a company's IT team. At times it could be as simple as making sure you have 10 important backup files, while other companies might have huge off-site data centres and the capacity to replace millions of pounds worth of hardware.
Why do disasters happen?
Disasters can happen for lots of reasons. Natural disasters can come in all shapes and sizes, from a wildfire burning down a building to an old pipe springing a leak and destroying your computers. They can also be caused by intruders trying to vandalise or steal equipment, and possibly, in extreme circumstances, rival companies attempting industrial sabotage. Many natural disasters are unforeseeable and impossible to control. However, there are measures you can take to protect your business from most disastrous situations.
What can we do to prevent disasters?
A lot of the time, we can't do anything to stop disasters as they are completely out of our control. You can't stop an earthquake, nor can you stop flooding. What you can do is make sure that you account for obvious potential issues. If your business HQ is in an area prone to flooding or wildfires, ensure you follow local guidelines for safeguarding your premises (or consider moving). To prevent break-ins, make sure your premises are secure and have plenty of security measures in place.
On top of prevention methods, you can also ensure your business has a robust disaster recovery plan in place to reduce the impact of a disaster if it happens. This can include building in redundancies in your systems, keeping regular backups of data, storing critical equipment in a secure location, arranging a backup internet connection and a phone line, keeping backups in a separate location, and so on.