Hot and Cold Sites

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Loss of data and working space due to disaster are two of the most potentially damaging events that can occur in a business. Without data and office backup, it is possible to lose critical data, custom applications, client trust and business continuity. Hot, warm and cold backup sites aim to minimize these risks and ensure business continuity no matter the disaster.

Hot Sites

A hot site is a duplicate of an organisations original site, with full computer systems as well as near-complete backups of user data. Real time synchronization between the two sites can be used to completely mirror the data environment of the original site using iWolfs “Hardened Cloud” to link the two networks.

Following a disruption to the original site, the hot site exists so that the organisation can relocate with minimal losses to normal operations. Ideally, a hot site will be up and running within a matter of an hour or even less. Staff may then work remotely or be moved to the fully operational hot site to continue their daily business processes as usual.

The capacity of the hot site may or may not match the capacity of the original site depending on the customer’s requirements. Hot sites are popular with organisations that operate real time processes such as financial institutions, government agencies and eCommerce providers.

Warm Sites

A warm site is a compromise between hot and cold. These sites will have hardware and connectivity already established, though may bee of a smaller scale than the original production site. Warm sites will have backups on hand, but necessarily complete. This data may be between several days to a week old. These backups could be shipped to the warm site VIA courier as a cheaper form of data transfer.

Cold Sites

A cold site is the most inexpensive type of backup site for an organisation to operate. It does not include duplicate copies of data and information from the original site, nor does it include hardware already set up.

Not having computer hardware ready to go contributes to the minimal start-up costs of the cold site, but requires additional time following the disaster to have the operation running at a capacity close to that prior to the disaster. Mobile technologies such as notebook computers, wireless internet and a hosted solution can be used to minimize downtime.

Choosing the solution that best suits your needs..

Choosing the type is mainly decided by an organisations cost Vs. benefit strategy.

Hot sites are traditionally more expensive than cold sites since much of the equipment the company needs has to be purchased again. However if the same organisation loses a substantial amount of revenue for each day they are inactive then it may be worth the cost. Another advantage of a hot site is that it can be used for operations prior to a disaster happening.

The advantages of a cold site are simple, minimal cost. It requires much fewer resources to operate a cold site because no equipment has been bought prior to the disaster. The downside with a cold site is the potential cost that must be incurred in order to make the cold site effective. The costs of purchasing equipment on very short notice may be higher and the disaster may make the equipment difficult to obtain. Therefore, the use of mobile technologies may be more practical

High levels of redundancy

Businesses that have a high level of mission critical data, which could endanger the economy, people or infrastructure have much of their disaster risks mitigating by using hot sites.

Resistant to infrastructure loss

In case of a major disaster that knocks out infrastructure (such as network, power etc.) the hot site is in another physical location reducing the risk you will be affected by such events.


Each companies requirements are completely unique, making it impossible to cover all facets of business continuity planning here on this page. Please contact your nearest iWolf Solutions Architect for advice, strategies and pricing confirmation.