One easy way to think about the difference is that backup is about making sure you don’t lose the files you create and use doing your job, while disaster recovery is about making sure you don’t lose your files AND that you don’t lose the time and effort it can take to get your systems back up and running after an unexpected event.
Backups are the best tool for making sure you can restore recent copies of files that are accidentally deleted or lost. Disaster recovery is generally more focused on getting services back up and running fast. For example, you might have taken an off-site backup of your files an hour before a fire takes out your company’s application servers. So your files are safe (with the exception of any changes you made during the hour since your last backup). But how are you going to get your applications and services back up and running? That is where disaster recovery comes in, by enabling you to restore your files AND your services, exactly as they were, quickly so you can be back up and running in minutes, instead of hours or days.
Both backup and disaster recovery are great tools for protecting your files and your business continuity. When combined, they complement each other, working together as a great way to provide multiple layers of protection for your business.