Although disaster recovery (DR) has been around since the 1970's when organisations first began to recognise their dependence on computer systems, ambiguity still abounds around what exactly it is and how critical a role it plays in today's IT landscape. Let's take this opportunity to clear up the confusion.
What is a disaster?
In this context, a disaster is any unforeseen event that can significantly put your organisation at risk by interfering with your operations - whether natural, like flooding, or man-made, such as a cutting through a water main. Not every disruptive event is a disaster – a power outage may just be an inconvenience if you have a back-up generator and plenty of fuel. And not every disaster has to involve catastrophic destruction or loss of life – a cyber-attack can wreak havoc on your business, even though the fabric of your IT infrastructure remains physically untouched.
What is the definition of disaster recovery?
Disaster recovery is the process of resuming normal operations following a disaster by regaining access to data, hardware, software, networking equipment, power and connectivity. However, if your facilities are damaged or destroyed, activities may also extend to logistical considerations like finding alternate work locations, restoring communications, or sourcing anything from desks and computers to transportation for employees. Disaster recovery response should follow a disaster recovery plan – a documented process or set of procedures developed specifically to prepare the organisation to recover in the shortest possible time during a period of acute stress.