Cyber recovery vs. disaster recovery: What’s the difference?

Whether you are hit by a cyberattack or face a natural disaster — the reality is that your organization needs to be prepared with a recovery plan.

How do you protect your business data from ransomware attacks or natural disasters? What is your recovery plan? Is your disaster recovery plan the same as your cyber recovery plan? The steps to protect your data might be the same, but your recovery efforts may vary. Both types of disasters could be devastating to your business, but what’s critical is recovery.

What is a cyberattack?

A cyberattack is an intentional effort to steal, alter, expose, disable, or destroy data integrity by acquiring unauthorized access to a network, computer system, or digital device. Threat actors launch cyberattacks for various reasons, from petty theft to acts of war.

Today’s enterprises face various threats to their security, assets, and critical business processes. Whether preparing for a complex cyberattack or natural disaster, adopting a proactive approach and selecting the right disaster recovery solution for your business continuity is critical to growing adaptability and resilience.

Cybersecurity and cyber recovery are disaster recovery (DR) practices focusing on attempts to steal, expose, alter, disable, or destroy critical data. Disaster recovery typically targets a broader range of threats than just those that are cyber in nature. While different, mainly due to the causes of the events, they help mitigate cyber recovery, and disaster recovery is often complementary, with many enterprises wisely selecting to deploy both.

Cyber recovery is designed to assist organizations in preparing for and recovering from cyberattacks, which are intentional efforts to obtain unauthorized access to a network, computer system, or digital device to steal or destroy data, applications, and other digital assets. While disaster recovery can include strategies for dealing with cyber threats, it primary targets are a much more comprehensive range of threats, including natural disasters, human error, massive outages, etc.

The most crucial difference between cyber and disaster recovery is the type of threat they are planned to mitigate. Cyber recovery (CR) focuses on disasters caused by malicious intentions, including hackers, foreign countries, and others. Disaster recovery covers threats of all kinds, often with no malicious intent behind them.

What is disaster recovery?

Disaster recovery combines IT technologies and best practices to prevent loss of business data and minimize business disruption caused by an unexpected event. It can refer to equipment failures, cyberattacks, civil emergencies, power outages, natural disasters, and criminal or military attacks. Still, it is most commonly used to describe events that have not been maliciously caused.

What is cyber recovery?

Cyber recovery is the process of improving your organization’s cyber resilience or capability to restore access to and functionality of critical IT systems and data in the event of a cyberattack. The primary goal of cyber recovery is to fix business systems and data from a backup environment and return them to functioning order as quickly and effectively as possible. Robust IT infrastructure and off-site data backup solutions help assure business continuity and readiness in the face of a wide range of cyber-related threats.

Companies can recover from cyberattacks and prevent malware re-infection by developing cyber recovery plans, including data validation via custom scripts, machine learning to improve data backup and protection capabilities, and virtual machine (VM) deployment.

Why are cyber recovery and disaster recovery significant?

Organizations that fail to develop reliable cyber and disaster recovery strategies expose themselves to various threats that can have devastating consequences. Organizations must be prepared for multiple complex threats while facing a cyberattack caused by a bad actor, a flood, or an earthquake with no malicious intention. Solid disaster recovery plans reassure customers, employees, business leaders, and investors that your company is well-run and prepared for whatever challenges may arise. Here are some of the advantages of cyber and disaster recovery planning:

  • Improved business continuity:one of the most essential benefits of cyber and disaster recovery plans is the ability to maintain the continuity of your most critical business processes throughout a cyberattack.
  • Reduced costs from unplanned events: Cybersecurity and disaster recovery can be costly, with critical assets like employees, data, and infrastructure being threatened. Data breaches, which are a typical result of cyberattacks, can be particularly devastating.
  • Less downtime: Modern companies rely on complex technologies such as cloud computing solutions and cellular networks. When an unplanned incident disrupts standard operations, it can result in costly downtime and unwanted attention in the press, which could cause customers and investors to leave. Deploying a solid cyber or disaster recovery solution increases a business’s chances of entirely and adequately recovering from various threats.
  • More robust compliance: When customer data is breached, heavily regulated industries such as healthcare and personal finance impose significant financial penalties. Businesses in these industries must have strong cyber-security and disaster recovery plans to reduce response and recovery times while keeping their customers’ data private.

How do cyber and disaster recovery differ?

Disaster recovery focuses on ensuring the rapid recovery of business operations with minimal downtime and zero data loss. Conversely, cyber recovery focuses on rapidly recovering businesses and their data, ensuring data integrity.

Regarding the tools required to carry out each process, DR requires replication tools that aid data replication between locations alongside orchestration to ensure seamless failover and failback operations. Cyber recovery involves:

  • Various tools and processes are available to confirm data integrity and protect applications.
  • SIEM/SOAR ecosystem solutions for forensics and analytics.
  • Network monitoring tools.

As for the frequency of testing recovery runback, while once every six months to a year is satisfactory for DR, CR demands testing be performed as frequently as possible. This is necessary to validate the data’s business readiness and ensure all parties involved in the incident response are well-prepared to act readily should a cyberattack strike.


When preparing your organization for cyber and non-cyber threats, you must need modern, comprehensive approaches that prioritize risk mitigation, deploy cutting-edge technology, and allow quick and easy implementation.

Pinnacle Cloud Cyber Recovery offers a simple business continuity plan that includes cost-effective disaster recovery (DR), cloud backup, and a powerful ransomware recovery solution to protect and restore your data across IT environments.