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.