What’s the Difference? Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, & Labor Contingency Planning

Both disaster recovery and business continuity share one thing in common: they require well-thought-out plans in instances where things go wrong – allowing businesses to continue functioning in a way that’s as seamless as possible. By understanding the difference between business continuity & disaster recovery, you’ll be able to properly form and assign responsibilities to particular segments of your organization – allowing your team members to effectively carry out tasks when faced with difficult situations.

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Business Continuity Plan

Business continuity is, in fact, a broad company plan that includes steps regarding how an organization will continue to operate in the event that it’s faced with an occurrence that would otherwise cause disruption. This encompasses numerous aspects of the business – all of which play an integral part in ensuring that the company is able to continue operating effectively. To start planning a continuity plan, businesses should analyze their most important services/products, ask exactly what allows them to make those available, and then determine exactly how to back up those factors that provide availability.

Disaster Recovery Plan

On the other hand, disaster recovery is just one part of an organization’s overall business continuity plan. It primarily refers to a business’s ability to recover data when there’s some kind of technical failure, fire at a data center, storm that results in facility damage, or some other kind of technical issue. Therefore, an effective disaster recovery plan should involve all aspects of the business, so operations can continue despite whatever incident has occurred.

Labor Contingency Planning

Similar to disaster recovery planning, Labor Contingency is just one portion of the overall Business Continuity Plan. The primary focus is to plan for an unforeseen labor stoppage. This could be in the form of a union dispute, natural disaster, shortage of available skilled workers, or even if you are in a ‘job island’ and cannot find the necessary workforce to meet seasonal demand. Having a well thought out plan in place allows the company to remain flexible. By bringing in temporary replacement workers to supplement or even replace the normal workforce, companies are able to continue to remain profitable even during labor strife.


Incidents that threaten your business’s performance are, without a doubt, extremely challenging. However, when you take the time to plan and, by understanding the similarities and differences between business continuity, disaster recovery, and labor contingency planning, you can make sure you’re best prepared to handle whatever you’re confronted with. Additionally by taking the opportunity to look at previous challenging times, and then creating a plan that covers any previous issues and how they were dealt with, your plan will continue to improve. This will allow you to keep your business on track, ensure morale remains high for both employees and customers, and maintain profits.

For more information on how you can prepare for a natural disaster – specifically when it comes to tech and continuity – read our post, Tech Considerations for Natural Disasters & Their Role in Continuity.