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I used to think both terms referred to the exact same thing, but one of my clients just requested to have a look at both documents.

The request emanates from the security department of a very big company, so I guess they know what they're talking about ...

What's the difference between a DRP and a BCP ?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Disaster Recovery Plan is the proceedures the administrators do to restore normal business workflow.

Business Continuity Plan is what end users do to remain productive when normal business workflow is interrupted.

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+1 Concise, yet remarkably illustrative. –  Jessica McKinnon Sep 15 '09 at 15:02

A Business Continuity Plan describes a set of procedures your company will use to continue critical business operations in the event of disruption (of that specific and/or all critical business operations). For instance, if the ability to take phone calls is a critical business operation (i.e. maybe you run a help desk), then you may define, in your BCP, what may cause a phone interruption, and what procedures you would take to respond to it.

Conversely, as stated by Massimo, the Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) is a subset of your BCP. The DRP specifies the further reaching implications of disaster -- where your primary place (or all places) of business are uninhabitable. Not only is this relevant to your place of business, but your workforce as well (Workforce Continuity).

Several organizations often combine the concept of both, calling it a BCDR (Business Continuity / Disaster Recover) plan. This is what we've done.

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In a nutshell a BCP defines how you operate during a business interruption/disaster and a DRP defines how you get back to normal operations after a business interruption/disaster.

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Have a look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business%5Fcontinuity.

"Business continuity is sometimes confused with disaster recovery,
but they are separate entities. Disaster recovery is a small subset
of business continuity."
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While true, this doesn't really answer the question being asked. This is almost like saying "Trees are sometimes confused with branches, but they are separate entities. Branches are a subset of trees." This does not illustrate the difference between the two, which is what was asked. If you're going to quote an article, please at least explain how it's relevant, unless the quote clearly answers the question by itself. –  Jessica McKinnon Sep 15 '09 at 15:07
    
The quote was only meant to give a generic answer; my actual answer was, in fact, "read this article". –  Massimo Sep 15 '09 at 18:55

I guess I could see them as follows:

Disaster Recovery Plan - What steps you would take to recover from a fire in your server room for example.

Business Continuity Plan - What steps you would take to let business users continue to work while you are executing your Disaster Recovery Plan.

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