With constant threats posed by extreme weather and external attackers, companies have increasingly recognized the importance of protecting their IT assets in the wake of a disaster. But the nature of that protection plan is often up for debate. Recovering from disaster means leveraging tools like online backup services at the very least. However, true resilience in the face of a disaster requires a more all-encompassing business continuity approach.

The plan goes beyond data protection and recovery
While backing up data so it can be restored in the wake of an outage is the bedrock of any business continuity plan, it's only half the battle. Depending on a business's approach, its backup solution may do it little good in the event of an actual disaster. For instance, some businesses relying on off-site tape storage have found themselves unable to restore their files at a secondary location after a storm because they couldn't physically travel to the tape storage facility due to flooding, industry expert Jarrett Potts explained in a column for Data Center Knowledge. Having a plan that encompasses the full recovery process is essential.

"IT disaster recovery plans are very important when one considers how intertwined organizations are with technology, but it is important to note that IT disaster recovery plans are not, by themselves, a complete business continuity strategy," Continuity Central contributor Michael Bratton explained in a recent article.

The solution is oriented toward application uptime
A key differentiator between disaster recovery and business continuity is that the latter's focus is keeping core business operations running. As Bratton noted, this approach goes beyond simply IT. However, from a tech perspective, it primarily means keeping critical applications running with as little interruption as possible. Through technologies like virtualization and a distributed network of colocation facilities, businesses can establish a flexible application hosting model that can easily weather unexpected events. The exact nature of the plan is likely to vary from company to company, so working with a third-party solution provider to develop a custom response can also be beneficial.