Sounds a bit over the top – but every business should ensure they know their RTO and RPO, because these crucial seconds, minutes and hours determine whether your business can recover and survive following a disaster that impacts your IT infrastructure, applications and services and reputation, which is impossible to rebuild once an outage becomes public knowledge. Do you know how long you have before the damage is irreversible?
Here we define RTO and RPO and explore why these are key metrics you should consider when developing your disaster recovery and business continuity plan.


Disaster can strike at any time

This can range from a natural disaster, human error, software failure or being the victim of a hackers and ransomware attack – anything that has the ability to take out some, or all, of your IT systems and applications.

Disaster Recovery isn’t just about protecting yourself and your business from these disasters, it’s about guaranteeing that if or when something should happen, your business would only suffer minimal damage. As the downtime would be restricted due to strong RTO and RPO metrics that can limit the effect to minutes and seconds rather than hours and days.


RTO = Recovery Time Objective

Put simply, RTO means how quickly from the point of disaster your applications and systems can be recovered to resume operation or ‘get back online’ and for customers and employees to access services and applications they need to without impact.

Every second counts here because every business is dependent on IT. Imagine your workforce not been able to communicate, e-commerce sites being unable to trade, being unable to access customer accounts and records. Rotas, schedules, timetables, plans stored digitally might become inaccessible. You can see how that affects everyone, large or small, from airlines, hospitals, banks, retailers to small businesses.

If your RTO is twenty-four hours could your business survive? A day in the life of any business is a long time! Some businesses will say ‘yes no problem we can cope’, for others a matter of hours could have devasting effects. That’s why there is no standard RTO, it all depends on an individual business and its applications – after all not all businesses and apps are the same. The great news is that it is possible to set RTO targets based on how critical they are to your business.

RTO involves restoring all IT operations and is a business wide process, it is therefore difficult to completely automate this, but it’s a key consideration in any disaster recovery strategy.


RPO = Recovery Point Objective

This is the last point-in-time that IT systems and applications can be recovered to. In other words – you need to rewind from the time of disaster and restore the latest version held before disaster struck.

Think about how your secure, store, back-up and replicate all the data held (files, customer data, transaction data, website content or employee records) within your business and what value you place on this or impact it would have on the bottom line if this information was lost for a considerable amount of time.

Most businesses back up data at fixed intervals of time – once every hour, once every day or perhaps as infrequently as once every week. Of course you can also backup continuously in real time. RPO measures how much data you can afford to lose as the result of a disaster. You might not mind replicating your website from one week ago, but if you lost customer transaction records the impact could be devastating for your business.

In any disaster there will be an impact to data availability – a low RPO can minimize that impact and ensure your business loses the smallest amount of data possible.

The good news is you are in control and can determine, and automate, the frequency of data replication and backup to meet the RPO that’s right for your business and individual applications.

So how prepared are you? If disaster were to strike would you flat line? Or do you have plans and place and peace of mind you could survive?

If you need advice on your business RTO and RPO levels M247 can offer industry leading timescales that recover in minutes helping you get back on track quickly in the event of an emergency. We can also support you in helping you create a disaster recovery strategy. For more information on either of these services please get in touch.

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