What is the difference between disaster avoidance and data recovery?

Posted by: Schepisi - Friday, September 25, 2015

When we talk about data errors and losses, we often see these terms being used interchangeably, and while we understand the overlap, there is actually a distinction between the two.

Disaster avoidance and data recovery plans are essential to keep your business running, and in such a case, to recover quickly with minimal losses and damage to sensitive business data, as well as minimal disruption to day-to-day operations.

What is the difference between disaster avoidance and data recovery?

What is a data disaster?

Anything that compromises, negatively affects, or results in loss of business data or impacts a business’ data centre can be termed a data disaster.

The causes of a data disaster can be natural like earthquakes or floods; accidents like fire and power failures; human error; or more specifically, IT exploits including viruses, hardware failures, and cyber attacks.

Let’s split it up:

Disaster avoidance

This is an anticipatory strategy that is in place in order to prevent any such instance of data breach or losses. It is a defensive, proactive approach to keeping data safe.

It is the newer of the two, as businesses and providers have expanded their data recovery plans into disaster avoidance plans, in order to anticipate and prevent a disaster before it happens.

Rather than recovering lost data after a breach, this strategy is about foreseeing and preparing a disaster in the first place.

It is a strategy composing a pre-deployed plan in order to keep a data centre functioning by another means in such a case of loss or disaster.

Disaster avoidance is highly regarded for high-demand businesses that simply cannot afford to have a data centre that goes down. It is a “more aggressive and expensive form of data preparedness” more common among larger enterprises.

It is also key for businesses with a ‘big data’ approach, that is, organisations that are continuously collecting data from multiple sources, both integrally and externally.

Comprehensive and consistent system backups also contribute to a safer, more secure network.

Disaster recovery

On the contrary, disaster recovery is the strategy and actions that take place in such a case after a breach or error has occurred.

Preparation in terms of a disaster avoidance strategy can take you so far, but it is, additionally, the recovery strategy that springs into action now that something has happened.

Just because a disaster recovery plan springs into action once a loss has been detected, it does not mean that this process does not need to be regularly monitored, tested, updated, and enhanced; it does not remain static.

Changing technologies, growing disaster centres, and evolving workplaces keep IT teams on their toes, working towards keeping your reactive plan up-to-date and efficient.

Less demanding businesses, smaller organisations, and those looking to minimise costs can look towards a disaster recovery plan, deployed only when a data loss, breach, or disaster occurs.

Once a recovery point has been reached, a disaster recovery plan provides the opportunity for assessment and improvement of the current strategy for the future.

Data recovery for enterprise, corporate, and business

Choosing between disaster avoidance and data recovery isn’t always such a black-and-white decision. Depending on your business size, the infrastructure, your IT team (if any), and your budget, you might be skewed towards one over the other. 

Schepisi is a Australian Telstra business partner.