Definition

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR)

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Building a disaster recovery architecture with cloud and colocation

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR or BC/DR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for unforeseen risks to continued operations. The trend of combining business continuity and disaster recovery into a single term has resulted from a growing recognition that both business executives and technology executives need to be collaborating closely instead of developing plans in isolation.

In general, disaster recovery refers to specific steps taken to resume operations in the aftermath of a catastrophic natural disaster or national emergency. In information technology, such steps may include restoring servers or mainframes with backups, re-establishing private branch exchanges (PBX) or provisioning local area networks (LANs) to meet immediate business needs.

Business continuity describes the processes and procedures an organization must put in place to ensure that mission-critical functions can continue during and after a disaster. In this sense, the concept is interchangeable with disaster recovery plan (DRP). Business continuity, however, also addresses more comprehensive planning that focuses on long term or chronic challenges to organizational success. Potential business continuity problems may include the illness or departure of key team members, supply chain breakdowns, catastrophic failures or critical malware infections.

This was last updated in July 2009

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