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DR Hot Site vs. Remote Site: What's the difference?

By Wendy Roberts | Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Hot sites and Remote Sites are two commonly confused terms for a fund looking at Disaster Recovery solutions. Both are remote sites to serve as a secondary disaster recovery site — but the differences between the two are crucial to understand when weighing your decision. A disaster recovery hot site is a remote physical location where you can maintain copies of all of your critical systems, such as trading applications, data, and documents. A disaster recovery remote site provides a secondary instance or replica of your IT environment—without physical desks and office infrastructure—that you and your firm’s employees can securely access and use remotely, through standard Internet connections, from anywhere. How do you choose which site is best for your fund? Hot Site

Begin by evaluating your hedge fund’s needs: 

  • When would you most likely need to access the site?

  • How many employees do you have?

  • Is it cost-effective to book a seat at a hot site for each employee?

  • In the event of a disaster, does each employee have remote locations from which they can work?

  • Is it crucial for everyone to work side-by-side?

With a remote office, you do not pay for office, real estate, or telecommunications overhead because your employees access the remote disaster recovery site from their preferred remote location such as their homes or one of your branch offices. Instead of worrying about competing with other hot site clients for limited space and resources, you can access IT resources that are dedicated to the firm and are housed and professionally managed at the remote site.

The hot site includes real estate with separate offices, cubes, desks, workstations, laptops and other office resources and infrastructure (e.g., phones, copying machines or printers) that people can use to continue working much as they did, pre-disaster, in the fund’s production environment. For a hot site to be most useful, your staff will need to be able to access it quickly. That means that it should be located within reasonable proximity of your primary location – not so close that it might be affected by a local disaster, but not so far that it is inconvenient for your employees to reach.

In your selection process, consider the following factors: infrastructure, security, and testing and maintenance.

Infrastructure: The remote or hot site must have multiple levels of redundancy designed and built into every aspect of the facility. We have prepared a quick infrastructure checklist to help in your planning.

Security: From a facilities standpoint, you want your secondary disaster recovery site to have an even higher standard of physical security than your production environment or primary data center, as the disaster recovery site may experience a constant flow of people unaffiliated with your firm. Ensure the site is set up with locked cabinets, cages, and rooms housing your equipment. There should also be human security, including guards, monitoring video cameras, patrolling and managing visitor logs. Biometric security is always a great idea. And finally, ask about perimeter and monitoring security.

Maintenance: A remote site provides a more focused and efficient set of services that may be more appropriate for a hedge fund. This model provides advantages, including lower cost, assured access to dedicated IT resources, and greater convenience for employees.

Finally, an effective disaster recovery plan includes contingencies for multiple types of outages, so locking your employees into meeting at, or working from, one location can reduce the plan’s effectiveness. Keep in mind --- adaptability and flexibility are keys to any successful plan. Eze Castle can simplify this process for you.

Visit our DR Knowledge Center to learn how!  The Disaster Recovery Knowledge Center includes:

  • Meeting the Institutional Investor's New Requirement: BCP & DR (1 hour video)

  • Guidebook to Establishing a Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Plan (20-pages)

You can also read our other posts on disaster recovery here:

Photo credits: National Park Service, Photo by D.W. Peterson

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