Some industries are prone to complex terms that sound like a foreign language to outsiders. If you don’t work in IT, you probably don’t keep the DRI glossary in your back pocket. But regardless of your role at your organization, it’s fundamental to ensure you have solid plans in place for disruptions of any kind, including technology-related disasters.

Many organizations train their teams on how to minimize damage in an emergency. But if you find your or your employees’ eyes glazing over when learning about the difference between disaster recovery terms, we’ve got you covered. Review this quick, detailed guide to essential definitions in disaster recovery and how they relate to business operations as a whole.

Ties to Business Continuity

Many employees are probably familiar with your organization’s continuity plan, designed to keep your business up and running in the face of any unforeseen disruptions. This type of plan typically accounts for office resources and equipment, utilities, third-party services and partners, human resources, and any other vital aspect of a company’s operations. An IT-specific disaster recovery plan should be part of your company’s overall emergency survival strategy.

disaster recovery strategies often entail an action plan for disturbances in hardware software

Disaster Recovery Basis

Disaster recovery is the process of gaining control over IT applications in any situation in which a business loses control or access to their networks, connectivity, data, or hardware such as desktops or wireless devices. Various factors can cause these circumstances — natural disasters and harsh weather, an outage, hacking, and more.

Disaster recovery strategies often entail an action plan for disturbances in hardware, software, connectivity, or data. While all aspects of IT are vital to your company’s operations, protecting and recovering data can prove to be the most sensitive. No matter which facet of data recovery your firm’s IT experts focus on, we’ve prepared a glossary of essential disaster recovery lingo so you can feel confident about collaborating on recovery strategies.

Your Data Disaster Recovery Definitions

Get precise insight into some of the essential terminologies your IT experts use when planning to protect your data.

Alternate Site

A secondary operating location for business personnel to use when the primary facilities aren’t available. When there is a disturbance to sensitive data, this may specifically mean a location used to process data or conduct critical business functions.

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This term can either refer to the amount of work that piles up when a system or process is unavailable for a long time or a situation in which excess work is more time-consuming than usual. In rare cases, accumulations can build up so much that it’s impossible to clear them.

Basel Accord

An agreement between international financial institutions on the risk assessment and ratios between capital and risk before a disaster.

Call Tree

A document that illustrates the responsibilities of the order used to contact different levels of leadership, employees, customers, and other stakeholders in the event of a disaster.

Cold Site

An alternate site that already has the necessary environmental infrastructure required to recover critical business information systems, but doesn’t have any preinstalled hardware or equipment. The affected organization must obtain these items in response to the disaster.

Command Center

The location where IT professionals manage tactical response, recovery, and restoration activities. This location will be local to the event but outside the affected area, and there can be more than one command center.

Critical Data Point

The point to which an IT team must restore data to achieve necessary recovery objectives.


This term covers any attempt to damage, disrupt, or gain unauthorized access to a computer, electronic system, or network. Typically, attackers aim to disable, destroy, or maliciously control a computing environment, destroy data integrity, or steal information.

Cyber Resilience

A business’ ability to deliver their products and services despite any adverse cyber events by actively protecting against threats, planning for the recoverability of data, adapting to change, effectively training recovery personnel, and maintaining response plans.

Data Backups

The copying of production files to media stored on- and off-site. These can restore corrupted or lost data or recover entire databases in the event of a disaster.

Data Integrity

This phrase can either mean intact, uncorrupted data, or it can refer to maintaining data’s accuracy and consistency throughout its lifetime.

Data Mirroring

The process of duplicating critical data and storing it on another device.

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Data Recovery

Restoring computer files and production data from backups to their status at the time of the last safe backup.

Hot Site

An alternate site that already has a computer and other environmental infrastructure in place to recover critical information systems.

Internal Hot Site

A fully equipped site owned and operated by your organization.

Recovery Point Objective

Point to which IT professionals must restore information to allow activity to resume typical operation.

Recovery Time Objective

The goal for the recovery of functions or resources based on the acceptable downtime and acceptable level of performance after experiencing a data disruption.

Risk Analysis

A process that requires quantifying threats and assessing the probability of realizing them. Often, this analysis will also evaluate the controls in place to reduce the disaster’s impact and evaluate their cost.

Threat Assessment

The process of formally evaluating the degree of threat to an information system and defining its nature.

Vital Records

Records that are essential to an organization’s continued function during and after a disaster. Typically, this also includes records essential to protecting the company’s legal and financial rights and the individuals directly affected by its activities.

Vulnerability Assessment

The process of evaluating an information system’s security measures, identifying any security deficiencies, and confirming these measures’ adequacy after implementation.

Warm Site

This type of alternate site falls between hot and cold sites. It has some hardware and communication interfaces, but the environment can only provide reliable backup after additional provisioning.

your disaster recovery experts

Agio — Your Disaster Recovery Experts

At Agio, we have your back, so you can worry less about the specifics of data emergency terminology and focus more on propelling your business forward. If you’re looking for a way to simplify and enhance your disaster recovery plans, our IT experts can reduce your “What if?” worries. We can mirror your current disaster recovery network, so you only pay for it when you need it. Whether you’re interested in assessing your current plans, looking to get extra technical support, or reconfiguring your disaster recovery environment, contact us to learn more about how our IT consulting and disaster recovery services.