30 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Terms You Need to Know

30 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Terms You Need to Know

June 01

In the current digital age, business continuity and disaster recovery have taken center stage in ensuring organizational resilience. Increased reliance on data and digital infrastructures means that even a small disruption can have a significant impact on operations, customer relationships, and brand reputation. The volatile nature of the cyber landscape, the risk of natural disasters, and unexpected system failures further underline the importance of having robust disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place. 

These frameworks not only enable rapid recovery from disruptions but also ensure the seamless continuity of mission-critical functions. By leveraging these strategies, organizations can maintain trust, ensure sustainability, and drive competitive advantage in today's highly dynamic business environment.

Disaster Recovery vs Business Continuity: What’s the Difference?

Although disaster recovery and business continuity are closely related, they address different aspects of organizational resilience. Disaster recovery focuses primarily on technological factors, dealing with the restoration of IT systems, applications, and data after a disruptive event. It's principally about bouncing back, getting the vital tech infrastructure back up and running to minimize downtime and data loss. 

Business continuity, on the other hand, takes a broader view, encompassing not just IT, but all business operations that must continue to function in the face of a disaster. This may include elements like alternative work locations, maintaining critical business processes, ensuring supply chain integrity, and preserving communication channels with stakeholders. While disaster recovery is a component of business continuity, the latter's objective is to keep the whole business running, even when disaster strikes.

30 Essential Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Terms You Need to Know

Disaster recovery and business continuity strategies incorporate many different areas of IT and business operations. Here’s a detailed rundown of some of the most important terms related to each approach:

Annual Loss Exposure

Annual loss exposure (ALE) refers to the estimated financial loss that a business could suffer from a particular risk over the span of a year. It combines the potential severity of the loss and the probability that the loss will occur.

Asynchronous Replication

Asynchronous replication is a data backup process that saves data changes and updates to be sent to a backup system at a later time, rather than immediately. This strategy can reduce performance impact on primary systems but might result in some data loss in case of a sudden failure.

Business Continuity Plan

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document outlining procedures and instructions an organization must follow in the face of disaster, whether fire, flood, or cyberattack. The plan ensures that operations and core business functions can continue during a disruptive event.

Business Continuity Management

Business continuity management (BCM) is a framework for identifying an organization's risk of exposure to internal and external threats. The goal of BCM is to provide an effective response that safeguards the interests of its key stakeholders, reputation, and value-creating activities.

Business Impact Analysis 

Business impact analysis (BIA) is a systematic process to determine and evaluate the potential effects of an interruption to critical business operations due to a disaster, accident, or emergency. It's an essential part of business continuity planning.

Cascade System

A cascade system is a multi-level, sequential system used in business continuity planning and disaster recovery. It ensures that if one system fails, the next in line automatically takes over, thereby providing multiple layers of protection against failure.

Cold Site 

A Cold Site is a disaster recovery facility that provides office space, but the customer provides and installs all the equipment needed to continue operations. Cold sites have the necessary infrastructure - power, cooling, connectivity, etc., but are not immediately ready for use and may require considerable setup time.

Continuous Availability

Continuous availability refers to an IT system's ability to provide uninterrupted services, despite any failures or disruptions that may occur. This often involves redundant systems and failover mechanisms designed to keep services available and operational at all times.

Data Mirroring

Data Mirroring involves replicating data across multiple locations in real-time to ensure it's preserved in case of a disaster. This process can occur between servers within the same data center or across geographically dispersed sites to enhance data resilience.

Data Recovery 

Data recovery is the process of restoring data that has been lost, accidentally deleted, corrupted, or made inaccessible due to various reasons. The goal of data recovery is to restore valuable data while minimizing downtime and the potential loss of business operations.

Disaster Recovery as a Service

Better known by its acronym, DRaaS, this cloud computing service model allows an organization to back up its data and IT infrastructure in a third-party cloud computing environment. DRaaS providers offer quicker recovery times and more cost-effective solutions than traditional DR options.

Disaster Recovery Plan

A disaster recovery plan is a documented, structured approach with instructions for responding to unplanned incidents. It involves the precautions taken so that the effects of a disaster will be minimized and the organization will be able to either maintain or quickly resume mission-critical functions.


Any period when a system is unavailable or offline due to hardware or software failures, routine maintenance, or a lack of network connectivity is broadly referred to as downtime. These outages can significantly impact an organization's productivity, profitability, and reputation.

Electronic Vaulting

Electronic vaulting involves transferring data to an offsite location for storage, often via network transmission. This strategy is a common element of disaster recovery plans, serving as an efficient method of safeguarding data from catastrophic events.


Failback is the process of restoring a system, device, or set of files back to its original state after a failover has occurred during a disaster or disruption. This is an essential part of the disaster recovery process, ensuring that normal operations resume as quickly as possible.


Failover is the automatic switch to a redundant or standby computer server, system, hardware component, or network upon the failure or abnormal termination of the previously active one. The purpose of failover is to maintain continuous operation, minimizing downtime and disruption.

Fault Tolerant 

Fault tolerance refers to the ability of a system, device, or network to continue functioning effectively in the event of one or more components failing. It often involves redundant components designed to take over seamlessly in case of a failure, ensuring that services remain available to users.

High Availability

Any system or component that is designed to ensure a high level of operational performance or uptime, typically exceeding 99.9%, over a certain period of time is considered high availability. It minimizes downtime and service interruptions by employing redundant systems, failover processes, and robust data backups.

Hot Site

A hot site is a fully operational offsite data center equipped with hardware, networking devices, and real-time data replication, ready to take over IT operations at a moment’s notice in the event of a system failure or disaster.

Mission Critical Application

Any software or tool that is essential to the core functions of a business is considered a mission critical application. When these applications experience failure or disruption, the outage can have a drastic impact on business operations, profitability, and reputation.

N+1 Redundancy 

N+1 redundancy is a resilience strategy where there are 'N' operational units and '1' additional backup unit, meaning that there is a single spare unit for every component to maintain system functionality in case of a failure.

2N Redundancy

Full redundancy (or 2N redundancy), refers to a system where every component has an identical backup. In other words, the total system capacity is doubled, ensuring that even if one entire system fails, another fully functional system is ready to take over.

Recovery Point Objective 

A recovery point objective (RPO) is a measure of the maximum tolerable period in which data might be lost from an IT service due to a major incident. It defines the age of the data that an organization must recover to resume business operations.

Recovery Site

A recovery site is an alternate facility where a company can move its operations to in the event of a disaster, ensuring business continuity. These sites could be hot, warm, or cold sites depending on the preparedness level of the facility.

Recovery Time Objective

A recovery time objective (RTO) is a parameter that determines the maximum acceptable length of time that a workflow can be down. It defines the time within which business processes must be restored after a disaster to avoid unacceptable consequences.

Service Level Agreement 

A common feature of the IT industry, a service level agreement (SLA) is a contract between a service provider and its customers that outlines the expected level of service, including performance metrics, responsibilities, and penalties in case of violations.

Single Point of Failure

A single point of failure (SPOF) refers to any non-redundant component, system, or part of a process which, if it fails, will cause the entire system or process to fail, potentially leading to a business interruption.

Synchronous Replication

Synchronous replication is a data protection method where the data is simultaneously copied to an off-site location as it is written. This ensures zero data loss but can potentially impact application performance due to latency.

Uninterruptible Power Supply 

Frequently deployed in data centers, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is a device that provides emergency power to a load when the input power source or mains power fails. It offers instantaneous protection from power interruptions, typically used to protect hardware such as servers, cooling infrastructure, and telecommunication equipment.

Work Area Recovery

Work area recovery is a part of disaster recovery planning that involves setting up physical spaces for displaced staff to continue business operations in the event of a disaster. These spaces are equipped with necessary hardware, software, network connectivity, and other resources.

Warm Site

A warm site is a type of recovery site that sits between a hot site and a cold site in terms of readiness. It is equipped with some hardware and backup systems, but it requires some time (typically hours to a day) to become fully operational after a disaster.

Enhance Your Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Strategies with Evoque

In the quest for robust business continuity and disaster recovery strategies, organizations are turning to colocation and cloud data center services. Evoque data centers are built on a resilient foundation, providing an unparalleled level of redundancy for power and cooling. This ensures the optimal balance between risk mitigation and operational efficiency for your business. Our data centers feature a blend of N+1 and 2N infrastructures, giving organizations the reliability they demand and catering to data-critical industries that require high uptime environments for uninterrupted access to their data and applications. Moreover, Evoque's seamless cloud connectivity provides access to multiple DRaaS solutions and hybrid disaster recovery strategies, further reinforcing your business resilience. 

If you'd like to know more about how Evoque's advanced data centers can fortify your business continuity and disaster recovery strategies, talk to one of our colocation experts today.


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