Here is a handy source of reference for anyone interested in the process of disaster recovery. We hope you find it easy to understand, and useful – but if you’d like us to explain anything further, please get in touch.

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ACTIVATION: The implementation of business continuity capabilities, procedures, activities, and plans in response to an emergency or disaster declaration; the execution of the recovery plan.

ADSL: ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is a technology for transmitting digital information at high bandwidths on existing phone lines. Unlike regular dialup phone service, ADSL provides a continuously-available connection.

ALERT: Notification that a potential disaster situation exists or has occurred; direction for recipient to stand by for possible activation of disaster recovery plan.

ALTERNATIVE SITE: An alternative operating location to be used by business functions when the primary facilities are inaccessible.

ALTERNATIVE WORK AREA: Office recovery environment complete with necessary office infrastructure.

APPLICATION RECOVERY: The restoration of business system software and data, after the processing platform has been restored or replaced. SIMILAR TERMS: Business System Recovery.

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BACKUP GENERATOR: An independent source of power, usually fueled by diesel or natural gas.

BAR-CODED: A label with a unique printed pattern of wide and narrow vertical bars used to represent numerical codes, designed to be read by an optical scanner.

BIOMETRIC ACCESS CONTROL: Access Control is the practice of using mechanisms to limit access to resources according to the identity of the person (or system) requesting access. Establishing the identity of individuals for access control purposes is done by a process of authentication. Biometric Access Control is a security system that uses personal characteristics (fingerprints, eyes, voice, etc) to authenticate identity.

BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANNING (BCP): Process of developing advance arrangements and procedures that enable an organisation to respond to an event in such a manner that critical business functions continue. SIMILAR TERMS: Contingency Planning, Disaster Recovery Planning.

BUSINESS CONTINUITY PROGRAMME: An ongoing programme to ensure business continuity requirements are assessed, resources are allocated, and recovery and continuity strategies and procedures are completed and tested.

BUSINESS CONTINUITY STEERING COMMITTEE: A committee of decision makers, business owners, technology experts and continuity professionals, tasked with making strategic recovery and continuity planning decisions for the organisation.

BUSINESS IMPACT ANALYSIS (BIA): The process of analysing all business functions and the effect that a specific disaster may have upon them. SIMILAR TERMS: Business Exposure Assessment, Risk Analysis.

BUSINESS INTERRUPTION: Any event, whether anticipated (i.e. public service strike) or unanticipated (i.e. blackout) which disrupts the normal course of business operations.

BUSINESS INTERRUPTION COSTS: The costs or lost revenue associated with an interruption in normal business operations.

BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE: Insurance coverage for disaster related expenses that may be incurred until operations are fully recovered after a disaster.

BUSINESS RECOVERY COORDINATOR: An individual or group designated to coordinate or control designated recovery processes or testing. SIMILAR TERMS: Disaster Recovery Coordinator.

BUSINESS RECOVERY TIMELINE: The chronological sequence of recovery activities that must be followed to resume an acceptable level of operations following a business interruption.

BUSINESS RESUMPTION PLANNING (BRP): The operations piece of business continuity planning. SIMILAR TERMS: Business Continuity Planning, Disaster Recovery Planning.

BUSINESS RESUMPTION PLANNING: An all-encompassing term covering both disaster recovery planning and business resumption planning.

BUSINESS RECOVERY TEAM: A group of individuals responsible for maintaining the business recovery procedures and coordinating the recovery of business functions and processes. SIMILAR TERMS: Disaster Recovery Team.

BUSINESS UNIT RECOVERY: The relocation of a key function or department in the event of a disaster. SIMILAR TERMS: Work Group Recovery.

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CALL TREE: A document that graphically depicts the calling responsibilities and the calling order used to contact management, employees, customers, vendors, and other key contacts in the event of an emergency.

CCTV: DRS use an ADPRO FastTrace Closed Circuit Television system to record and monitor site activity. ADPRO FastTrace is a Multi-site Video Security System combining video alarm verification, remote site monitoring and control, and long duration evidential quality recording.

The key features are as follows:

• Multi-camera live and recorded views for rapid assessment of all site activity.

• Simultaneous access by multiple remote users to stored or live video without interruption to recording.

• Alarm verification activated by automatic call out from multiple input sources.

• Multiple alarm inputs with tamper detection and flexible mapping.

• Downloadable event log for standards compliant audit trails of site activity.

• Intelligent search capability based on time, events, or activity in user definable areas.

• Continuous and event recording activated by image movement, external sensors or transactions.

• Internal disk storage capability greater than 200 million images.

• Digitally watermarked recorded images uniquely linked to event data.

CERTIFIED BUSINESS CONTINUITY PROFESSIONAL (CBCP): The Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRI International), a not-for-profit corporation, certifies CBCPs and promotes credibility and professionalism in the business continuity industry. Also offers MBCP (Master Business Continuity Professional) and ABCP (Associate Business Continuity Professional).

CHECKLIST EXERCISE: A method used to exercise a completed disaster recovery plan. This type of exercise is used to determine if the information such as phone numbers, manuals, equipment, etc. in the plan is accurate and current.

COLD SITE: An alternative facility that already has in place the environmental infrastructure required to recover critical business functions or information systems, but does not have any pre-installed computer hardware, telecommunications equipment, communication lines, etc.

These must be provided at time of disaster. SIMILAR TERMS: Shell Site; Backup Site; Recovery Site; Alternative Site.

COMMUNICATIONS RECOVERY: The component of Disaster Recovery which deals with the restoration or rerouting of an organisation’s telecommunication network, or its components, in the event of loss. SIMILAR TERMS: Telecommunications Recovery, Data Communications Recovery.

COMPUTER RECOVERY TEAM: A group of individuals responsible for assessing damage to the original system, processing data in the interim, and setting up the new system.

CONSORTIUM AGREEMENT: An agreement made by a group of organisations to share processing facilities and/or office facilities, if one member of the group suffers a disaster. SIMILAR TERMS: Reciprocal Agreement.

COMMAND CENTRE: Facility separate from the main facility and equipped with adequate communications equipment from which initial recovery efforts are manned and media-business communications are maintained.

CONTACT LIST: A list of team members and/or key players to be contacted including their backups. The list will include the necessary contact information (i.e. home phone, pager, mobile etc.)

CONTINGENCY PLANNING: Process of developing arrangements and procedures that would enable an organisation to respond to an event that could occur by chance or unforeseen circumstances.

CONTINGENCY PLAN: A plan used by an organisation or business unit to respond to a specific systems failure or disruption of operations.

CONTINUITY OF OPERATIONS PLAN (COOP): A COOP provides guidance on the system restoration for emergencies, disasters, mobilisation, and for maintaining a state of readiness to ensure a business can operate following a disaster. This term is traditionally used to describe activities otherwise known as Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity, Business Resumption, or Contingency Planning.

CRATE & SHIP: A strategy for providing alternative processing capability in a disaster, via contractual arrangements with an equipment supplier, to ship replacement hardware within a specified time period. SIMILAR TERMS: Guaranteed Replacement, Drop Ship, Quick Ship.

CRISIS: A critical event that, if not handled in an appropriate manner, may dramatically impact an organisation’s profitability, reputation, or ability to operate.

CRISIS MANAGEMENT: The overall coordination of an organisation’s response to a crisis in an effective, timely manner, with the goal of avoiding or minimizing damage to the organisation’s profitability, reputation, or ability to operate.

CRISIS MANAGEMENT TEAM: A crisis management team will consist of key executives as well as key role players (i.e. media representative, legal counsel, facilities manager, disaster recovery coordinator, etc.) and the appropriate business owners of critical organisation functions.

CRISIS SIMULATION: The process of testing an organisation’s ability to respond to a crisis in a coordinated, timely, and effective manner, by simulating the occurrence of a specific crisis.

CRITICAL FUNCTIONS: Business activities or information that could not be interrupted or unavailable for several business days without significantly jeopardising operation of the organisation.

CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE: Systems whose incapacity or destruction would have a debilitating impact on the economic security of an organisation, community, nation, etc.

CRITICAL RECORDS: Records or documents that, if damaged or destroyed, would cause considerable inconvenience and/or require replacement or recreation at considerable expense.

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DAMAGE ASSESSMENT: The process of assessing damage, following a disaster, to computer hardware, vital records, office facilities, etc. and determining what can be salvaged or restored and what must be replaced.

DATA BACKUPS: The back up of system, application, program and/or production files to media that can be stored both on and/or offsite.

DATA BACKUP STRATEGIES: Those actions and backup processes determined by an organisation to be necessary to meet its data recovery and restoration objectives.

DATA CENTRE RECOVERY: The component of Disaster Recovery which deals with the restoration, at an alternative location, of data centre services and computer processing capabilities. SIMILAR TERMS: Mainframe Recovery, Technology Recovery.

DATA RECOVERY: The restoration of computer files from backup media to restore programs and production data to the state that existed at the time of the last safe backup.

DATABASE REPLICATION: The partial or full duplication of data from a source database to one or more destination databases.

DISK MIRRORING: Disk mirroring is the duplication of data on separate disks in real time to ensure its continuous availability, currency and accuracy.

DECLARATION: A formal announcement by authorised personnel that a disaster or severe outage is predicted or has occurred and that triggers pre-arranged mitigating actions (e.g. a move to an alternative site).

DECLARATION FEE: A one-time fee, charged by an Alternative Facility provider, to a customer who declares a disaster.

DEGAUSSING: The process of removing data from magnetic storage media by means of electro-magnetic energy. DRS use a SV5000 Degausser to perform the data erasure. The SV5000 Degausser has been approved by the UK Government and meets the specified requirements of CESG Degaussing Standard. CESG: Computer and Electronics Security Group. The division of GCHQ that forms the UK Government’s National Technical Authority for information security.

DESK CHECK: One method of testing a specific component of a plan. Typically, the owner or author of the component reviews it for accuracy and completeness and signs off.

DISASTER: A sudden, unplanned calamitous event causing great damage or loss. SIMILAR TERMS: Business Interruption; Outage; Catastrophe.

DISASTER RECOVERY: Activities and programs designed to respond to an interruption in services by implementing a disaster recovery plan to restore an organisation’s critical business functions.

DISASTER RECOVERY OR BUSINESS CONTINUITY COORDINATOR: The Disaster Recovery Coordinator may be responsible for overall recovery of an organisation or unit(s). SIMILAR TERMS: Business Recovery Coordinator.

DISASTER RECOVERY INSTITUTE INTERNATIONAL (DRI INTERNATIONAL): A not-for-profit organisation that offers certification and educational offerings for business continuity professionals.

DISASTER RECOVERY PLAN: The document that defines the resources, actions, tasks and data required to manage the business recovery process in the event of a business interruption.

DISASTER RECOVERY PLANNING: The technological aspect of business continuity planning. The preparations necessary to minimise loss and ensure continuity of the critical business functions of an organisation, in the event of disaster. SIMILAR TERMS: Contingency Planning; Business Resumption Planning; Corporate Contingency Planning; Business Interruption Planning; Disaster Preparedness.

DISASTER RECOVERY SOFTWARE: An application program developed to assist the writing of a comprehensive disaster recovery plan.

DISASTER RECOVERY TEAMS (Business Recovery Teams): A structured group of teams ready to take control of the recovery operations if a disaster should occur.

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ELECTRONIC VAULTING: Electronically forwarding backup data to an offsite server or storage facility. Vaulting eliminates the need for tape shipment and therefore significantly shortens the time required to move the data offsite.

EMERGENCY: A sudden, unexpected event requiring immediate action due to potential threat to health and safety, the environment, or property.

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: The discipline that ensures an organisation, or community’s readiness to respond to an emergency in a coordinated, timely, and effective manner.

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES: A plan of action to commence immediately to prevent the loss of life and minimise injury and property damage.

EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTRE (EOC): A site from which response teams/officials exercise direction and control in an emergency or disaster.

ENVIRONMENT RESTORATION: Recreation of the critical business operations in an alternative location, including people, equipment and communications capability.

EXECUTIVE / MANAGEMENT SUCCESSION: A plan for ensuring the continuity of authority, decision-making, and communication in the event that key members of senior management suddenly become incapacitated, or in the event that a crisis occurs while key members of senior management are unavailable.

EXERCISE: An activity that is performed for the purpose of training and conditioning team members, and improving their performance.

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FILE SHADOWING: The asynchronous duplication of the production database on separate media to ensure data availability, currency and accuracy. File shadowing can be used as a disaster recovery solution if performed remotely, to improve both the recovery time and recovery point objectives. SIMILAR TERMS: Data Replication, Journaling, Disk Mirroring.

FINANCIAL IMPACT: An operating expense that continues following an interruption or disaster, which as a result of the event cannot be offset by income and directly affects the financial position of the organisation.

FORWARD RECOVERY: The process of recovering a database to the point of failure by applying active journal or log data to the current backup files of the database.

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HAZARD OR THREAT IDENTIFICATION: The process of identifying situations or conditions which have the potential to cause injury to people, damage to property, or damage to the environment.

HIGH AVAILABILITY: Systems or applications requiring a very high level of reliability and availability. High availability systems typically operate 24×7 and usually require built-in redundancy to minimize the risk of downtime due to hardware and/or telecommunication failures.

HIGH-RISK AREAS: Heavily populated areas, particularly susceptible to high-intensity earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, or other disasters, for which emergency response may be necessary in the event of a disaster.

HOTSITE: An alternative facility that already has in place the computer, telecommunications, and environmental infrastructure required to recover critical business functions or information systems.

HUMAN THREATS: Possible disruptions in operations resulting from human actions. (e.g. disgruntled employee, terrorism, blackmail, job actions, riots, etc).

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INCIDENT COMMAND SYSTEM (ICS): Combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organisational structure with responsibility for management of assigned resources to effectively direct and control the response to an incident. Intended to expand, as situation requires larger resources, without requiring new, reorganized command structure. (NEMA Term)

INCIDENT MANAGER: Commands the local EOC reporting up to senior management on the recovery progress. Has the authority to invoke the local recovery plan.

INCIDENT RESPONSE: The response of an organisation to a disaster or other significant event that may significantly impact the organisation, its people, or its ability to function productively.

INTEGRATED TEST: A test conducted on multiple components of a plan, in conjunction with each other, typically under simulated operating conditions.

INTERIM SITE: A temporary location used to continue performing business functions after vacating a recovery site and before the original or new home site can be occupied.

INTERNAL HOTSITE: A fully equipped alternative processing site, owned and operated by the organisation.

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JOURNALING: The process of logging changes or updates to a database since the last full backup. Journals can be used to recover previous versions of a file before updates were made, or to facilitate disaster recovery, if performed remotely, by applying changes to the last safe backup. SIMILAR TERMS: File Shadowing, Data Replication, Disk Mirroring.

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LAN RECOVERY: The replacement of LAN equipment and the restoration of essential data and software in the event of a disaster. SIMILAR TERM: Client/Server Recovery.

LINE REROUTING: A short-term change in the routing of telephone traffic, which can be planned and recurring, or a reaction to an outage situation.

LOSS REDUCTION Planning for, and reacting to, an event to limit its impact.

LOST TRANSACTION RECOVERY: Recovery of data destroyed or lost at the time of the disaster or interruption. Paper documents may need to be requested or re-acquired from original sources. Data for system entries may need to be recreated or re-entered.

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MISSION-CRITICAL APPLICATION: An application that is essential to the organisation’s ability to perform necessary business functions.

MOBILE RECOVERY: A mobilised resource purchased or contracted for the purpose of business recovery. The mobile recovery centre might include: computers, workstations, telephone, electrical power, etc.

MOCK DISASTER: A training exercise in which participants are challenged to determine the actions they would take in the event of a specific disaster scenario.

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NATURAL THREATS: Events caused by nature that have the potential to affect an organisation.

NETWORK OUTAGE: An interruption in system availability resulting from a communication failure affecting a network of computer terminals, processors, and/or workstations.

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OFF-SITE STORAGE: Alternative facility, other than the primary production site, where duplicated vital records and documentation may be stored for use during disaster recovery.

OPERATIONAL EXERCISE: A training exercise in which participants perform actions they would take in the event of plan activation. Typically performed under actual operating conditions at the designated alternative location.

OPERATIONAL IMPACT ANALYSIS: Determines the impact of the loss of an operational or technological resource. The loss of a system, network or other critical resource may affect a number of business processes.

OPERATIONAL TEST: A test conducted on one or more components of a plan under actual operating conditions.

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PAC – PROXIMITY ACCESS CONTROL: Access Control is the practice of using mechanisms to limit access to resources according to the identity of the person (or system) requesting access. Establishing the identity of individuals for access control purposes is done by a process of authentication. PAC systems use a uniquely coded transducer, in either a card or fob, issued to a user in order to authenticate access to controlled areas.

PLAN ADMINISTRATOR: The individual responsible for documenting recovery activities and tracking recovery progress.

PEER REVIEW: One method of testing a specific component of a plan. It should be reviewed for accuracy and completeness by personnel (other than the owner or author) with appropriate technical or business knowledge.

PLAN MAINTENANCE PROCEDURES: Maintenance procedures outline the process for the review and update of business continuity plans.

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RECIPROCAL AGREEMENT: Agreement between two organisations (or two internal business groups) with basically the same equipment/same environment that allows each one to recover at each other’s site.

RECOVERY: Process of planning for and/or implementing expanded operations to address less time-sensitive business operations immediately following an interruption or disaster.

RECOVERY PERIOD: The period between a disaster and a return to normal functions, during which the disaster recovery plan is employed.

RECOVERY SERVICES CONTRACT: A contract with an external organisation guaranteeing the provision of specified equipment, facilities, or services, usually within a specified time period, in the event of a business interruption.

RECOVERY STRATEGY: An approach by an organisation that will ensure its recovery and continuity in the face of a disaster or other major outage.

RECOVERY POINT OBJECTIVE (RPO): The point in time to which systems and data must be recovered after an outage.

RECOVERY TIME OBJECTIVE (RTO): The period of time within which systems, applications, or functions must be recovered after an outage (e.g. one business day).

REDWALL: Redwall detectors are Passive Infra Red sensors specifically designed for external CCTV detection applications. Their accurate detection makes them ideal for the activation of video transmission systems and the positioning of pan and tilt or dome cameras. They can also be used on manned CCTV systems to alert an operator’s attention to movement in a specific area.

RESPONSE: The reaction to an incident or emergency to assess the damage or impact, and to ascertain the level of containment and control activity required.

RESTORATION: Process of planning for and/or implementing procedures for the repair or relocation of the primary site and its contents, and for the restoration of normal operations at the primary site.

RESUMPTION: The process of planning for and/or implementing the restarting of defined business operations following a disaster.

RISK: Potential for exposure to loss. Risks, either man-made or natural, are constant. The potential is usually measured by its probability in years.

RISK ASSESSMENT / ANALYSIS: Process of identifying the risks to an organisation, assessing the critical functions necessary for an organisation to continue business operations, defining the controls in place to reduce organisation exposure and evaluating the cost for such controls. Risk analysis often involves an evaluation of the probabilities of a particular event.

RISK MITIGATION: Implementation of measures to deter specific threats to the continuity of business operations, and/or respond to any occurrence of such threats in a timely and appropriate manner.

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SALVAGE & RESTORATION: The process of reclaiming or refurbishing computer hardware, vital records, office facilities, etc. following a disaster.

SIMULATION EXERCISE: A training exercise in which participants perform some or all of the actions they would take in the event of plan activation.

SOX: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (Pub. L. No. 107-204, 116 Stat. 745), also known as the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002 and commonly called SOX or Sarbox; is a United States federal law enacted on July 30, 2002 in response to a number of major corporate and accounting scandals.

The COSO (Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission), framework defines five components of internal control, which can help support the requirements as set forth in the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation. These five areas and their impacts for the IT Department are as follows:

Risk Assessment. Before the necessary controls are implemented, IT management must assess and understand the areas of risk affecting the completeness and validity of the financial reports. They must examine how the company’s systems are being used and the current level and accuracy of existing documentation. The areas of risk drive the definition of the other four components of the COSO framework.

Control Environment. The control environment sets the tone of an organization, influencing the control consciousness of its people. It is the foundation for all other components of internal control, providing discipline and structure. Control environment factors include the integrity, ethical values and competence of the entity’s people; management’s philosophy and operating style; the way management assigns authority and responsibility, and organizes and develops its people; and the attention and direction provided by the board of directors.

Control Activities. Control activities are the policies and procedures that help ensure management directives are carried out. They help ensure that necessary actions are taken to address risks to achievement of the entity’s objectives. Control activities occur throughout the organization, at all levels and in all functions. They include a range of activities as diverse as approvals, authorizations, verifications, reconciliations, reviews of operating performance, security of assets and segregation of duties. In an IT environment, control activities typically include IT general controls — such as controls over program changes, access to programs, computer operations — and application controls.

Monitoring. Auditing processes and schedules should be developed to address the high-risk areas within the IT organization. IT personnel should perform frequent internal audits. In addition, personnel from outside the IT organization should perform audits on a schedule that is appropriate to the level of risk. Management should clearly understand and be held responsible for the outcome of these audits.

Information and Communication. Without timely, accurate information, it will be difficult for IT management to proactively identify and address areas of risk. They will be unable to react to issues as they occur. IT management must demonstrate to company management an understanding of what needs to be done to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley and how to get there.

STANDALONE TEST: A test conducted on a specific component of a plan, in isolation from other components, typically under simulated operating conditions.

STRUCTURED WALKTHROUGH: One method of testing a specific component of a plan. Typically, a team member makes a detailed presentation of the component to other team members (and possibly non-members) for their critique and evaluation.

SUBSCRIPTION: Contract commitment that provides an organisation with the right to utilise a vendor recovery facility for processing capability in the event of a disaster declaration.

SYSTEM DOWNTIME: A planned or unplanned interruption in system availability.

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TABLE TOP EXERCISE: A training exercise in which participants review and discuss the actions they would take to implement their plans, but do not perform any of these actions.

TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY-CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT: DRS media vaults are air conditioned and temperature controlled to 18°C ± 2°C and with a humidity of less than 50% RH.

TEST: An activity that is performed to evaluate the effectiveness or capabilities of a plan relative to specified objectives or measurement criteria.

TEST PLAN: A document designed to periodically exercise specific action tasks and procedures to ensure viability in a real disaster or severe outage situation.

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UKSSA: comprises the United Kingdom’s leading providers of confidential data destruction services and all members must adhere to these standards and commit to regular, random assessments of their operations conducted by an independent auditing

UNINTERTUPTIBLE POWER SUPPLY (UPS): A backup supply that provides continuous power to critical equipment in the event that commercial power is lost.

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VESDA: Very Early Smoke Detection Alert. A system that samples the air on a continuing basis and can detect fire at the pre-combustion stage.

VESDA Air-sampling Smoke Detectors work by:

  • Continually drawing air into a pipe network attached to a detector unit.
  • Passing the air through a dual stage filter to remove dirt.
  • Sending the clean air to a laser detection chamber for smoke detection.
  • Measuring the light scatter caused by any smoke.
  • Processing the detector signal and presenting the smoke level graphically.

Communicating the information to a fire alarm control panel, a software management system or a building management system.

VITAL RECORD: A record that must be preserved and available for retrieval if needed.

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WARM SITE: An alternative processing site which is equipped with some hardware, and communications interfaces, electrical and environmental conditioning which is only capable of providing backup after additional provisioning, software or customization is performed.

WORKAROUND PROCEDURES: Interim procedures that may be used by a business unit to enable it to continue to perform its critical functions during temporary unavailability of application systems, data, communication systems, specialised equipment, office facilities, personnel, or external services. SIMILAR TERMS: Interim Contingencies.

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This Glossary of Business Continuity terms is reproduced with the kind permission of The Disaster Recovery Institute International.