Hot, Cold, and Warm Sites
If you plan to take the Security+, or SSCP ,exam, you should have a basic understanding alternate locations such as hot, cold, and warm sites. These help an organization ensure they can continue critical business functions in another location even during or after a disaster.
Some examples of disasters are fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. If an organization needs to continue to operate even in the face of one of these disasters, they can use an alternate location. These are often referred to as continuity of operations (COOP) sites.
A business impact analysis is a study that identifies critical functions and services of an organization. If these critical elements fail, it’s very possible that the organization may not survive the disaster. However, by moving the critical functions to an alternate location, they stay in business.
Hot sites are fully staffed and include all the equipment, software, and communications capabilities of a primary location. The hot site can take over operations within an hour and some hot sites can take over instantaneously. This is the most expensive of the three types of sites, but it provides the most effective disaster recovery solution.
Cold sites include power and connections, but that’s about all. There isn’t any equipment or data at the site. If a disaster occurs, the organization must send personnel and all the appropriate resources to the cold site to take over services. This is the cheapest to maintain, but it takes the longest to become operational. In some cases, organizations use a cold site if they don’t need to be operational for a few days after a disaster.
Warm sites are a compromise between hot sites and cold sites. Hot sites are too expensive for most organizations and cold sites often take too long for full operation. Instead, the organization can identify what to stage at the warm site based on their needs. For example, the organization can stage some or all of the equipment at the warm site. They can keep the systems powered on, or power them on when needed. They can have copies of data there, or copy the data after a disaster.
While the implementation of alternate sites can be quite detailed, you don’t need to be an expert on them to ace the Security questions on them.