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Backups Versus Business Continuity

Mar 29, 2023

By Clayton Saunders

Consider a scenario in which one of your employees is walking across the parking lot into the office and notices a USB drive on the floor. They pick it up, enter the office, plug it in to see who it belongs to, and then everyone is locked out of their computer. Then they are greeted with a message requesting bitcoin or similar cryptocurrency in exchange for regaining access to the computers.

As time passes, incidents like this become more common. In 2021 alone, there were an estimated 623 million ransomware attacks.1 These infections frequently use the most mundane attack methods, such as clicking the wrong link or inserting an unidentified USB into business-critical hardware that is essential to an operation, but ransomware isn’t the only way to infect a computer to cause data loss.

What causes data loss?

Numerous events can cause data loss, including hardware failure, natural disasters, ransomware attacks, malware attacks, theft and simple human error.

Data loss will not only harm your company's reputation; it can also cost you hundreds or thousands of hours and dollars due to downtime. Depending on the industry and importance of the data, your business could also run into fines or even lawsuits over improperly handled or lost data. Therefore, the importance of backing up data and having a plan for business continuity cannot be stressed enough.

What is a backup?

A backup is an extra copy of critical files kept on a separate storage medium such as an external hard drive, network attached storage or cloud storage. Backups are used to prevent data loss when data is accidentally deleted or corrupted.2

How often should you back up your data?

It’s best practice to create backups regularly to ensure that in the event that recovery is needed, the amount of data lost can be minimized as much as possible.

What is business continuity?

Business continuity is a holistic approach to disaster recovery that focuses on ensuring that a business can resume operations as soon as possible in the case of an incident. This can include on or offsite backups, redundancies, training of staff, using uninterruptible power supplies (“UPS”) and creating standard operating procedures that can be followed in such emergencies.3

Business continuity is a more thorough approach to data protection and recovery, whereas backup implementation is a minor but critical part of the business continuity strategy.

In conclusion, while creating backups is a tried-and-true method of data protection, it is insufficient on its own. A business continuity plan must be established in order to make the most of backups. A continuity plan, when created and implemented correctly, should help to prevent incidents; speed recovery, should an incident occur and do so quickly enough to reduce downtime.


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3The Difference Between Backup and Business Continuity (

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