In planning for disaster recovery (DR) make sure you’ve defined your recovery time objective and recovery point objectives (RTO and RPO). This DR 101 helps to get you started.
IT downtime can interfere with customer service, taking orders, completing transactions, treating patients, and more. Most organizations can roll with a short, planned downtime, but unexpected disruptions from human error, device or power failure, malevolent attack, or natural disaster can prove to crush. Disaster recovery planning is essential. Lay out your RTO and RPO to get back up and running as efficiently as possible.
1 in 3 organizations have already experienced an incident that required disaster recovery — Evolve IP’s 2018 survey of more than 1,000 IT professionals and C-level executives
Recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) help your organization plan ahead for possible data or technological disruptions to maintain business continuity.
Recovery time objective weighs the amount of time it will take to recover data and get systems functioning as usual after a disaster. Of course, your immediate thought is — “I want my business back up again as soon as possible.” That sounds smart. After all, downtime can prove costly, as you can only afford to be down so long before your business suffers. Still, disaster recovery (DR) requires an investment too. To shorten the timeframe of your recovery, you’ll likely need to put more resources into your DR strategy upfront.
The recovery point objective reflects the point at which the amount of data lost in an event exceeds the business’s tolerance for downtime. Your DR team will try to predict in advance how long the business can continue without IT restored. So, for example, if your company can function effectively on data from the last 24 hours, but after 30 hours the volume of data loss is too great to rebound from, your RPO would be under 30 hours.
Now, you should be able to see how both of these factor into business continuity and disaster recovery planning.
Planning Optimal RTO and RPO
To optimize RPO, you’re going to need to make some decisions in advance. Taking into consideration the frequency of important data changes at your organization, you’ll need to decide how often to backup your data. The amount of space you have for these back-ups may be a factor. Typically, an organization might back up every 24 hours, but depending on when the incident happens, this could mean the business loses an entire day’s worth of data.
Businesses with less real-time sensitive data could absorb that punch more easily than say a financial institution. For the latter, even losing ten minutes of data could prove costly.
When it comes to RTO, you’ll need to consider:
- How much downtime can your business absorb?
- How much revenue may be lost?
- What will you need to spend to rebuild your IT?
- What kind of brand reputation damage could you suffer from being down?
- How much do customers, vendors, and other business partners rely on your organization to keep data, networks, hardware, and software secure and compliant?
- How many copies of the backup will we keep?
Additionally, you’ll need to weigh which is the right back-up tool for you. Definitely make a plan for offsite storage of the back-ups to provide a secure recovery point in the event of a disaster.
Your actual recovery time and recovery period will vary based on the extent of the disaster, the combination of manual and automated steps you use, the access to backup, data profile, and more.
Some 40% of businesses don’t bounce back from a disaster — FEMA
Business continuity can be easier with a cloud-based system. After all, hosting your network services in the cloud can give your employees continued access anywhere as the virtual desktop interface is supported by geographically redundant data centers, ensuring services remain available regardless of conditions at your particular location.