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    Business Continuity Plan vs. Disaster Recovery Plan: Key Differences and Benefits Explained

    October 11, 2023

October 11, 2023

Business Continuity Plan vs. Disaster Recovery Plan: Key Differences and Benefits Explained

Business Continuity Plan vs. Disaster Recovery Plan

Planning for the unexpected is critical to the success of any business. A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) are two key documents that every business needs to develop. They outline proactive strategies that minimize the effects of unplanned disruptions to operations — everything from power outages to cyberattacks.

Let’s explore the differences between a BCP and a DRP and their roles in ensuring a company’s resilience when unforeseen events occur.

Understanding Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans

A Business Continuity Plan details how a business will continue operating during any unplanned disruption in service. It documents the steps needed to restore and then maintain all business operations after the disruption.

A Disaster Recovery Plan is a subset of the Business Continuity Plan that focuses on restoring a business’ IT infrastructure and access to data.

Business Continuity Plan vs. Disaster Recovery Plan vs. Incident Response Plan

In the same way that a Disaster Recovery Plan is a subset of the Business Continuity Plan, Incident Response Plans (IRP) are important pieces of a Disaster Recovery Plan.

An IRP is a how-to guide that documents the steps employees will take to prepare for, detect, contain, incidents such as a cyberattack or a data breach and how they will recover after the incident occurs.

What is the difference between a Disaster Recovery Plan and a Business Continuity Plan?

Let’s recap.

A Business Continuity Plan is large is scope and documents how a business restores critical operations and systems after an unexpected event.

The Disaster Recovery Plan zeroes in on how the business restores its IT systems and access to data and information after a disaster and returns the business to normal operations.

Key Steps in Creating a Business Continuity Plan or Disaster Recovery Plan

The first step in creating a BCP or a DRP is to identify the key operations necessary for your business. This also means assigning priority to those operations: Which are critical functions for employees and customers, which can partially resume and which can be temporarily stopped.

The second step is to conduct a risk assessment for the business. What are the internal and external threats to key operations, including things such as natural disasters, weather incidents and power outages. What are the business’ vulnerabilities, particularly around IT infrastructure and data protection?

By researching and carefully considering key operations, BCPs and DRPs can be focused on strategies to avoid and mitigate the risks to those operations.

Other steps to creating these plans include:

  • Conduct a business impact analysis.
  • Develop strategies to restore operations.
  • Document the plan.
  • Test the plan and educate employees with training and exercises.
  • Regularly review and update the plan.

The 5 Components of a Business Continuity Plan

  • The Business Impact Analysis identifies critical business functions and dependencies.
  • Risk Assessment and Management evaluates potential risks and vulnerabilities and considers mitigation strategies and risk treatment plans.
  • Business Continuity Strategies document the different ways to restore business operations and align strategies with recovery objectives.
  • Business Continuity Plan Development includes ensuring a plan is effectively structured and assigns roles and responsibilities to employees.
  • Testing, Training, and Maintenance is critical to preparing the team to be ready when unexpected disruptions occur. The plan itself should go through regular review and updates to keep it relevant. Then re-educate and re-train employees. 

Benefits and Importance of These Plans

A Business Continuity Plan is important to protect a business when a disaster or other unplanned disruption hampers operations.

  • It ensures business continuity during disruptions.
  • It minimizes downtime and financial losses.
  • It ensures stakeholder confidence and trust.

A Disaster Recovery Plan is critical to restoring technology as soon as possible and protecting key IT systems and business and customer data.

  • It focuses on IT infrastructure recovery.
  • It mitigates data loss and recovery time.
  • It safeguards critical business information.

Key Challenges and Obstacles in Implementing These Plans

Every business operation has its challenges, and implementing a Business Continuity Plan can come with its own obstacles. Common ones include:

  • Lack of top management support
  • Resource constraints
  • Complexity of business processes

The challenges of implementing a Disaster Recovering Plan can include:

  • Technological complexities
  • Data synchronization and replication issues
  • Budget constraints

Integration of Business Continuity Plan, Discover Recovery Plan, and Incident Response Plan

To successfully plan for the unexpected, a business’ Business Continuity Plan, Disaster Recovery Plan, and Incident Response Plan must be integrated and work as a complete package.

If these three documents are out of sync with each other, recovery can be delayed, affecting employees, operations, customers and profits.

Contact GUT Consulting and Stay Ahead

Businesses can be ready for the unexpected and bounce back quickly from a crisis by having a Business Continuity Plan and a Disaster Recovery Plan in hand and a team of trained employees ready to react to restore operations quickly and efficiently.

When you’re ready to review your BCP and DRP, contact GUT Consulting today and we’ll work together to collaborate on impactful recovery plans and engaging training opportunities for your team.