Cold, Warm and Hot Sites

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Continuity of operations planning (COOP) sites provide an alternate location for operations after a critical outage. If you’re planning on taking the Security+ exam, you should have a basic understanding of  the most common sites such as cold, warm, and hot sites.

For example, can you answer this question?

Q. Personnel within your organization turned off the HR data server for over six hours to perform a test. Which of the following is the MOST likely purpose of this?

A. BIA

B. Succession planning

C. Tabletop exercises

D. COOP

More, do you know why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answers are incorrect? The answer and explanation is available at the end of this post.

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CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide

  • Introduction
  • About the exam (including types of questions and strategies for performance-based questions)
  • 100 question pre-assessment exam
  • Mastering Security Basics (full content from Chapter 1 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Control Types and Methods (full content from Chapter 2 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Basic Network Security (full content from Chapter 3 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Securing Your Network (full content from Chapter 4 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Securing Hosts and Data (full content from Chapter 5 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Malware and Social Engineering (full content from Chapter 6 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Identifying Advanced Attacks (full content from Chapter 7 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Managing Risk (full content from Chapter 8 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Preparing for Business Continuity (full content from Chapter 9 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
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  • Security+ Acronyms

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34 Simulated Performance-based Questions

Eight sets of performance-based questions with multiple questions in each set. These questions help you understand and prepare for performance based questions.

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Continuity of Operations

Continuity of operations planning (COOP) is an important element of a BCP. It focuses on restoring critical business functions at an alternate location after a critical outage. For example, if a hurricane or other disaster prevents the company from operating in one location, a COOP site allows it to continue to provide critical services at an alternate location. Many organizations plan for using a COOP site for as long as 30 days after relocating.

In this context, a site is an alternate location. It could be office space within a building, an entire building, or even a group of buildings. The four primary types of alternate sites are hot sites, cold sites, warm sites, and mobile sites.

As a rule of thumb, you’d use a hot site when you need to be operational within 60 minutes, or a cold site if you must be operational within a few days. For periods between these two extremes, you’d use a warm site. A mobile site is an alternate location when an organization doesn’t want to have a permanent location as an alternate site.

Remember this

Continuity of operations planning (COOP) sites provide an alternate location for operations after a critical outage. The most common sites are hot, cold, warm, and mobile sites.

Cold, Warm and Hot Sites

Hot Site

A hot site would be up and operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week and would be able to take over functionality from the primary site quickly after a primary site failure. It would include all the equipment, software, and communication capabilities of the primary site, and all the data would be up to date. In many cases, copies of backup tapes are stored at the hot site as the off-site location.

In many cases, a hot site is another active business location that has the capability to assume operations during a disaster. For example, a financial institution could have locations in two separate cities. The second location provides noncritical support services, but also includes all the resources necessary to assume the functions of the first location.

Some definitions of hot sites indicate they can take over instantaneously, though this isn’t consistent. In most cases, it takes a little bit of time to transfer operations to the hot site, and this can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.

Clearly, a hot site is the most effective disaster recovery solution for high-availability requirements. If an organization must keep critical systems with high-availability requirements, the hot site is the best choice. However, a hot site is the most expensive to maintain and keep up to date.

Remember this

A hot site includes personnel, equipment, software, and communication capabilities of the primary site with all the data up to date. A hot site provides the shortest recovery time compared with warm and cold sites. It is the most effective disaster recovery solution but is also the most expensive to maintain.

CompTIA Security+ Study Guide (SY0-401)

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Cold Site

A cold site requires power and connectivity but not much else. Generally, if it has a roof, electricity, running water, and Internet access, you’re good to go. The organization brings all the equipment, software, and data to the site when it activates it.

I often take my dogs for a walk at a local army base and occasionally see soldiers activate an extreme example of a cold site. On most weekends, the fields are empty. Other weekends, soldiers have transformed one or more fields into complete operational sites with tents, antennas, cables, generators, and porta-potties.

Because the army has several buildings on the base, they don’t need to operate in the middle of fields, but what they’re really doing is testing their ability to stand up a cold site wherever they want. If they can do it in the field, they can do it in the middle of a desert, or anywhere else they need to.

A cold site is the cheapest to maintain, but it is also the most difficult to test.

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Warm Site

You can think of a warm site as the Goldilocks solution—not too hot and not too cold, but just right. Hot sites are generally too expensive for most organizations, and cold sites generally take too long to configure for full operation. However, the warm site provides a compromise that an organization can tailor to meet its needs.

For example, an organization can place all the necessary hardware at the warm site location but not include up-to-date data. If a disaster occurs, the organization can copy the data to the warm site and take over operations. This is only one example, but there are many different possibilities of warm site configurations.


 

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FOR THE NEW PERFORMANCE BASED QUESTIONS 

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Additional Security+ questions to help you prepare for the new performance based questions. These are included with the full bank of Security+ practice test questions and are divided into different sections. For example, you'll have access to the following links:

- Performance Based Question - Set 1

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of security to mobile devices and servers in a data center. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 2

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 3

You'll see a graphic showing a network with computers and servers separated by a firewall. The firewall is used to control traffic between the computers and users using rules within an access control list (ACL).  You'll have three questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly identify the relevant components of the rule. The incorrect answers and explanation provide you with insight into how to correctly answer this type of question on the actual exam.

- Performance Based Question - Set 4

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam related to what a forensic analyst would do during an investigation. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 5

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match protocols and ports. You'll then have seven questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 6

You'll see a list of security controls along with a graphic showing devices and locations within an organization, along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the controls with the devices and locations. You'll then have four questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 7

You'll see a list of authentication methods and authentication factors along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the authentication methods with the authentication factors. You'll then have six questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This set also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 8

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This is similar to Set 2 but expands on the possibilities. The set also includes a link to a page showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 9

New questions recently added using a different testing engine. See a demo here. This set includes drag and drop and matching questions on ports.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 10

A random set of 20 performance-based questions using drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in-the blank. This set includes performance-based questions on RAID.

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions Here

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions

Q. Personnel within your organization turned off the HR data server for over six hours to perform a test. Which of the following is the MOST likely purpose of this?

A. BIA

B. Succession planning

C. Tabletop exercises

D. COOP

Answer is D. The most likely reason for personnel to turn off a server for testing is to test elements of continuity of operations planning (COOP). This helps determine if the organization can continue to operate despite the outage.

A business impact analysis (BIA) is performed before creating business continuity plans, not to test them.

Succession planning identifies a chain of command during a disaster.

Tabletop exercises are discussion-based exercises and do not include manipulating any systems.

See Chapter 9 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide for more information on preparing business continuity.

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