The word “disaster” can be used to describe a broad range of events, such as violent weather, a catastrophic accident, or a natural event that causes great damage or loss of life. Disaster recovery is an equally broad term that encompasses both the planning and preparation prior to a catastrophic event, as well as the recovery and recuperation of those affected.
A seminal moment in disaster recovery occurred in 1988 when a fire destroyed a central office operated by Illinois Bell in the suburbs of Chicago. The Hinsdale Central Office handled 40,000 local phone lines, which supported the O’Hare International Airport and numerous businesses. Service wasn’t restored for weeks and, one by one, thriving businesses failed and were liquidated. Network planners and architects came to realize that there are a multitude of things that can negatively impact network operations in addition to natural disasters.
While disaster recovery and business continuity are similar in many ways and share many overlapping concerns, they are different subjects. Disaster recovery deals with the aftermath of a catastrophic event that affects an area or region. Business continuity involves the safeguarding of critical business functions.