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Disaster Recovery Solutions: What You Need to Know About RPO and RTO

April 15, 2015 / Evolve IP

With Tax Day here, that old saying comes to mind: There are two things that are certain – death and taxes. But, here at Evolve IP, there’s a third certainty: that Disaster Recovery is the hottest topic for education for our customers and prospects.

While many organizations do have back-up plans in place for their IT, often, they don’t plan properly for how it will be restored after the event. And, many who do have a recovery plan in place do not include framework for how quickly they will be fully restored and how much of their data will be restored. In fact, in the Evolve IP 2015 Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Survey, we discovered that more than half of those surveyed who have experienced an incident have lost data, with 12 percent losing more than one day’s worth of data. When looking at the types and durations of losses during incidents, we see that the highest percentage of permanent loss was that backups were not recoverable, followed by loss of critical data.

Whether you face an all too common “oops” moment – such as hardware outages that result in data loss – or the devastating effects of a full-blown disaster, it is your responsibility as an IT professional or business executive to ensure that your company is secure, stable, and operational following such an event.

Understanding Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO)

The first step towards safeguarding your business is to familiarize yourself with the basics of disaster recovery starting with two essential terms, recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO). Together, these policies and procedures shape the foundation of any DR strategy and are key to ensuring that your business is able to recover and resume after a disaster.

RPO refers to the point back in time from which you want data recovered from backup storage for normal operations to resume after a computer, system, or network goes down. This can be measured in intervals ranging from minutes, hours, or even days. For the laymen’s sake, the recovery point objective defines the amount of work you can afford to lose if vital technology infrastructure fails in addition to the frequency in which backups must be made.

RTO, on the other hand, dictates the maximum tolerable length of time that a computer, system, network, or application can be down after a failure occurs. The amount of time it takes to get a system back up and running is based on the extent to which the interruption disrupts normal operations and the amount of revenue lost per unit time as a result of the incident. Data archiving systems for example may not require an immediate RTO because the contents are rarely accessed, and not crucial for day-to-day continuity unlike data retention information.

What is the Right Recovery Solution for Your Business? Making a DR Plan That Works

The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all model for disaster recovery. Every business will need to decide which recovery solution is right for them. For comprehension purposes, let’s paint a picture of a DR plan that might fit with a particular business type, such as an accounting firm office (since its Tax Day). Imagine that an accounting firm’s building experiences an IT issue a week before April 15 that prevents staff from accessing their servers. While the system is being restored, the personnel are able to use other means to keep the office running smoothly, such as utilizing a paper based ledger or accounting workbook.

While this will undoubtedly put an added burden on the employees, an immediate recovery time objective probably isn’t overtly crucial, as all the business’s valuable information is still being collected, it just needs to be input into the computer later. Coping with a few hours of manual operations is doable. The recovery point objective, however, would be far more essential in this situation as accountants cannot afford to lose clients’ important financial information. In this scenario, the RPO is more time-sensitive than the RTO and would need to be reflected in their DR strategy.

No matter what your company needs, here at EvolveIP, we have a series of comprehensive DR solutions designed to properly protect your business in case of a disaster. With a wide variety recovery options of products and RPO/RTO intervals to choose from, you are free to form a data recovery strategy that works for you, not a cookie-cutter model that doesn’t fit your situation and needs. Don’t let intimidation or lack of expertise keep you from learning more about your DR options. You’ve just taken the first step in protecting your business, your clients, and your future, let EvolveIP do the rest.

Click here to download the complete 2015 Evolve IP Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Survey


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