Disaster Recovery

Using a Web search engine, visit one of the popular disaster recovery/business continuity sites, such as www.disasterrecoveryworld.com, www.drj.com, www.drie.org, www.drii.org, or csrc.nist.gov. Search for the terms hot site, warm site, and cold site. Do the provided descriptions match those of this chapter? Why or why not? (Whitman, 2017, p.465)1

On referring to the “Glossary of Business Continuity Terms”2, compiled by the glossary committee at www.drj.com, in April 2017, the following definitions can be found-

Hot Site: “A facility equipped with full technical requirements including IT, telecoms and

infrastructure, and which can be used to provide rapid resumption of operations.” (p.39)

Warm Site: “An alternate processing site which is equipped with some hardware, and communications interfaces, electrical and environmental conditioning which is only capable of providing backup after additional provisioning, software or customization is performed.” (p.76)

Cold Site: “An environmentally equipped facility that provides only the physical space for recovery operations while the organization using the space provides its own office equipment, hardware and software systems and any other required resources to establish and continue operations.” (p.14)

In chapter 10 “Planning for Contingencies” of the textbook “Management of Information Security”1, Whitman defines these terms as-

Hot Site: “A fully configured computing facility that includes all services, communications links, and physical plant operations.”  (Whitman, 2017, p.629)

Warm Site: “A facility that provides many of the same services and options as a hot site, but typically without installed and configured software applications” (Whitman, 2017, p.636)

Cold Site: “A facility that provides only rudimentary services, with no computer hardware or peripherals.” (Whitman, 2017, p.626)1

On comparing both sets of definitions it can be found that, the www.drj.com definition of the sites state a more granular level of technical contents of the environment, as well provides the reason for setting them up. The textbook definitions only make a generic statement of the contents and have no mention of their capabilities or purpose.

Consider “hot site ” defined by www.drj.com which mentions “IT, telecoms and infrastructure” as well as “used to provide rapid resumption of operations”, whereas the textbook only mentions “communication links” and makes no explicit reference to their purpose.
“Warm site” and “cold site” are similarly structured in their respective definitions.

“Warm site” is stated to have “hardware, communications interfaces, electrical and environmental conditioning” which is aimed to serve as “backup after additional provisioning” by www.drj.com, whereas the textbook only refers to it as a watered down version of the hot site.

www.drj.com defines “cold site” using the words “physical space” and goes on to mention that “the organization using the space provides its own office equipment, hardware and software systems” and then states that its purpose is to “continue operations”. The textbook simply mentions the contents to be “rudimentary services, with no computer hardware or peripherals.”

The reason for these subtle differences in definitions could be that the textbook is a more theoretical reference which aims to teach the concepts, whereas the Disaster Management Journal is a more of a handbook of compilations aimed at direct implementation in the industry.