What is a Disaster Recovery Site

A disaster recovery site, which is also known as a backup site, is a place that a company can temporarily relocate to following a security breach or natural disaster. The site is just one facet of the company's larger disaster recovery plan.

BREAKING DOWN Disaster Recovery Site

A disaster recovery site is important for a company to have because it is useful to have a plan in case its primary location is inaccessible due to a disaster that occurs e.g. a natural disaster such as flood or a security breach such as data theft. If a disaster occurs and a company has a plan in place, it can continue operations at a disaster recovery site until it is safe to resume work at its usual location or a new permanent location is secured.

What Should a Company Consider When Choosing a Site?

It can be hard to weigh the costs and benefits of different types of disaster recovery sites, but a company should keep the following factors in mind when choosing a site:

  • Location: How far is the disaster recovery site from the parent site? If it's too far away, it might be harder for people to get to work. If the parent location is close to public transportation and some employees rely on that resource, moving to a remote site can be a problem. The company should also consider the surrounding location based on safety and amenities important to its employees.
  • Time: How long might the company use the disaster recovery site? This is hard to know in advance, but it's good to have a plan in case the company needs to spend a long period of time there.
  • Cost: How much is the company willing to spend for an adequate disaster recovery site? Generally, the more resources available, the higher the cost, so the company has to weigh the cost of the site against its benefits.
  • Resources: What company resources and technology are essential to the business? Is it necessary to have access to all data, or can employees operate independently of the systems?

Internal vs. External Sites

An internal recovery site is organized and maintained by the company, while an external recovery site is maintained by an external provider. Internal recovery sites are often set up with full access to the company's data, which is ideal for a company that relies heavily on its information. This infrastructure means internal sites tend to be more expensive than external. External sites can range from hot sites to cold sites. Hot sites contain all customer data and information that an employee would be able to access at the company's primary site, while cold sites have no company data. Benefits of external sites include lower cost (for cold sites) and not having the responsibility of everyday maintenance. 

Mobile sites are also an option - these often come in the form of trailers, and can be arranged in specific locations and fitted with the requisite technological infrastructure.