Understanding Recovery Point and Time Objectives
Think by Blytheco, LLC has teamed up with several experts in the business continuity industry to develop a blog miniseries about the importance of backing up data and enhancing your business’s continuity plans (BCP’s) and disaster recovery procedures. The series, titled ‘Back it Up’, is meant to connect you with the information and resources you need before the occurrence of data loss.
Businesses, in light of a disaster, you must possess a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO)! Period. A year ago, a client was victim to a disastrous and destructive storm. There was a torrential downpour that caused a major leak in the roof that just so happened to be right above the client’s primary server rack. The servers were so filled with water that each day they had to be de-racked and drained out. As luck would have it, after carefully drying the servers, they miraculously restarted! This of course took a few days to complete, however full disaster was averted because this business had an RTO and RPO – they knew exactly how long they could be without IT functionality and how much data they could afford to lose. Luckily they already had safety measures in place and knew how to adapt.
So what is RTO and why is it important to you? RTO is the maximum duration of time for which a business process can be unavailable after a disaster or disruption. RTO is generally measured in minutes, hours or days and represents the amount of time that is acceptable for your organization to be without IT service. In other words, your RTO should be defined in terms of how fast you need to be back up and running in the event of partial or total failure. Most organizations I talk to commonly have RTOs of 15 minutes to one day, depending upon what business they are in and which systems are involved.
Similarly, RPO is the acceptable amount of data loss an entity can endure measured in time. RPO will likely be different each time contingent on the type of data loss. It is essentially the state or point in which a business believes it needs to recover following an unplanned interruption. Most clients usually fall into a RPO range of about 24 hrs or less, but I have seen them go into the weeks. This varies greatly depending on the type of server involved. Mail servers, database servers and accounting systems typically land in the 15-minute RPO range. DNS servers, remote access servers, etc., usually have a one-day RPO. You must decide the length of the RTO and RPO that is right for you. Choose wisely.
Oli Thordarson is the CEO of Alvaka Networks, a provider of network security and network management services. With over 28 years of experience, Oli is the founding chairman of the Global MSP Network and currently serves on the board of CompTIA and the Technology Leadership Political Action Committee.
Alvaka Networks is distinguished for its many industry awards, including the NASBA Top VAR Award. Alvaka Networks is headquartered in IRVINE, CA.