Which Disaster Recovery Site Is Right for You?

Cost vs. Performance Considerations in Hot DR Sites

Will you be prepared if disaster strikes your Peoria credit union? Disaster response planning has become an increasingly hot topic as the nation reels from what seems like back-to-back financially motivated cyberattacks. With the recent rise in ransomware, it is becoming clear that having an incident or disaster response plan is essential for organizations that do any type of business online — assuming that the business would like to stay up and running in the event of an incident.

DR sites

Across Illinois, credit unions are faced with making disaster-planning decisions that could make or break their organization during a disaster. For most financial institutions, including credit unions, an effective disaster response (DR) plan includes choosing between three major types of disaster response sites. The ultimate decision should be based on the criticality of resuming operations immediately and whether the organization can afford any downtime and still remain viable to its customer base.

Like anything in the business world, these decisions are largely based on time and money, with cost vs. performance as a major factor. For most financial, healthcare and other organizations engaged in protected customer data and time-sensitive communications, the cost vs. benefit analysis leans sharply in favor of making a sizeable investment toward getting the business back online as quickly as possible.

Credit unions looking for an effective incident response strategy should consider three different disaster response site types:

Cold Sites

Cold sites are the bare bones of disaster response, and recovery involves a network-rebuilding process that can take days or weeks rather than just hours. In a cold site scenario, the business has invested in the basic infrastructure to rebuild its network in a new location, including electric, HVAC, and network connectivity — with no bells and whistles whatsoever.

Businesses who choose a cold site are planning for an all-out major disaster where they can’t return to their normal place of operations for quite some time — so having a location in which to rebuild their network from the ground up is basically a necessity.

Cold Site Alternative Options

If you determine that a cold site is an appropriate strategy for your business, alternative locations for cold sites are also an option. You don’t have to invest in real estate or lease a building that sits empty waiting for a disaster to happen.

  • Consider contracting a space in a third-party cold site that you can use in a post-disaster situation. Be sure to have an attorney fully examine your contract to ensure that the site will be available to you in the event of a disaster, and, for obvious reasons, choose a location that is a good distance away from your primary data center. That way, if the disaster is localized, there will be a better chance that your cold site location will be in different circumstances — and less in demand by other similarly affected businesses.
  • Use another non-critical company location as your cold site. Have the basic required infrastructure installed, and use the building for storage, extra office space, or for another non-critical purpose until you need to activate your disaster recovery plan.

Warm Sites

Warm sites are the middle ground of disaster recovery and offer a bit of a compromise between cold (basic) and hot (turnkey). A warm site is typically loaded with all required infrastructure as well as the hardware necessary to resume operations. A warm site will include a copy of the business’s data either in the form of backup tapes or storage systems equipped with duplicate copies of the data.

Depending on the level of preparations, warm sites can be up and running in a matter of hours.

Hot Sites

Hot sites are where it’s at when all you want to do is turn the key. A hot site provides the highest-level disaster preparedness option, with near real-time recovery of business operations when disaster strikes the main data center.

A hot site expands on the warm site concept with preloaded operating systems, applications and all necessary data to immediately return to normal business ops. A well-planned and equipped hot site can be fully functional in a matter of seconds.

Hybrid Hot Sites

When cost is a consideration, an experienced IT disaster response servicer can provide guidance in setting up a hybrid hot site system.

For credit unions, hybrid sites are an option if it is determined that there are only a select few systems and business processes that are critical. A hybrid site will use hot site functionality for those systems deemed high priority, and a warm site approach for those areas that you can afford to have offline for a while.

Choosing a credit union disaster recovery plan in Peoria and across Illinois doesn’t have to be a complicated process. ClearPath IT Solutions is your local Peoria IT disaster recovery expert, serving credit unions across Illinois. Contact us at (309) 263-5600 or send us an email at sales@clearpathIT.com for more information.

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