What’s the difference between backup and disaster recovery?

Disaster recovery as a service and backup as a service are fairly similar concepts: both enable you to restore your data if you lose it through accident, theft, negligence or natural disaster.

But – and this but is big – if disaster strikes, the act of restoring your data won’t necessarily get your business up and running again, and that’s where the difference between the two concepts lies.

Backup protects your business critical data* while disaster recovery protects your data as well as your business critical functions** such as running applications, server and system operations, licensing information and associated settings.

Let’s have a look at what each service entails.

Online (cloud) backup

  • is a copy of your chosen data
  • is a scheduled service that automatically backs up this data at a specific time every day
  • is a way to ensure you never lose your important data
  • enables you to restore data to the last successful backup
  • relies on you to select the correct data for backup
  • is accessible to you from anywhere at anytime
  • is quick and easy to install

Disaster recovery

  • facilitates the reinstatement of your entire environment; it creates a full server image of your installed applications, system state and company settings.
  • includes online backup as part of the guarantee to recover your business operations.
  • keeps your business running in an unaffected environment while you recover from the disaster.
  • should include quarterly (or more frequent) disaster simulation exercises to ensure you’ve configured the service optimally and that near instant recovery and business continuity is certain.
  • means minimal time, money, reputational and brand damage in the event of a loss, corruption, malware attack or natural disaster.

While backup has long been a vital component for business security and peace of mind, it’s now an effective and robust disaster recovery solution that businesses need to mitigate the impact of disruptive events.

Why disaster recovery is vital these days

  • An IT system reaches far more areas of a business than it did 10 years ago, when it was good enough simply to back up
  • Reliable and consistent power supply is not guaranteed
  • Theft is commonplace
  • Hackers have advanced their reach globally to small, medium and large businesses, so ransomware is rife
  • Protecting personal data is a higher priority than before as a result of stringent data privacy regulations
  • Downtime has legal, financial and reputation implications, and can cripple a business

Disaster recovery includes backup and is the next step up in today’s fast-changing digital world. In devising a disaster recovery plan for optimal recovery you’d need to have a plan of action for keeping all of the following in operation:

  • IT servers and services, including physical servers, virtual private servers and cloud hosted infrastructure as well as switches, routers and all connectivity services
  • Devices that you’ll need to connect to a server in order to continue transacting
  • A telephone system (a VOIP telephony solution is recommended)

If you don’t yet have a plan, chat to a consultant about your business needs.


*Business critical data is that which:

  1. is specific to your particular business
  2. your business can’t operate without
  3. is needed to maintain your business’s revenue
  4. needs to be protected under data privacy regulations
**Business critical functions are those that:
  1. are most affected by downtime
  2. protect your irreplaceable assets
  3. maintain your brand’s reputation
  4. maintain your cash flow

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The reseller zone is currently out getting a facelift as we look to integrate it with our backup platform, as it stands you can overview your clients on our new backup console. If you don't know what console that is, please reach out to us.

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  • I have read and understand IronTree Internet Services (Pty) Ltd's privacy notice.

  • I have read and understand IronTree Internet Services (Pty) Ltd's privacy notice.

We are taking all necessary precautions around the COVID-19 situation. Our offices are closed and our team members have each been set up to work remotely in self-isolation at home. As far as possible IronTree will maintain business as usual. All our resources such as server platforms, transactional capacity, telephony and electronic communications, including video meeting facilities, have been configured in the cloud and are 100% operational. Please feel free to contact us if you require our assistance. Stay safe!
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