Are your recovery point objective and recovery time objective realistic?

Are your recovery point objective and recovery time objective realistic?

Downtime is costly for any business. If your IT systems go down and your staff can’t accomplish their tasks, that leads to many work hours wasted. And if your shipping and invoicing systems are affected, that means thousands of dollars in revenue may be delayed or lost.

Regardless of what causes downtime in your company, what’s important is recovering critical functions as quickly as possible. In business continuity and disaster recovery planning, this is where recovery objectives come in.

Recovery point objective and recovery time objective explained

Your recovery point objective (RPO) refers to how far back you can roll back data-wise so that you can have relevant and useful data in your hands once again. To illustrate, let’s say that ransomware locks away your shipment tracking information. Will data from the day before be relevant and useful enough to resume managing your shipments, or will you need fresher data to do so?

Your RPO will determine the frequency of your backups, and different data will require different RPOs. An RPO of 24 hours means you’ll have to create a backup every 24 hours, and that you’re willing to lose up to 24 hours worth of data if a disaster occurs. Long RPOs may be acceptable for data that doesn’t change much over time, such as customer profile information, or data that isn’t necessary to keep the business running. Short RPOs are for time-sensitive data, such as real-time tracking information and financial transactions.

On the other hand, your recovery time objective (RTO) refers to how soon you want affected systems restored so that you can resume operations. The more critical an operation is to your business, the shorter its RTO has to be. This may entail diverting IT resources away from other functions or employing the services of a managed IT services provider.

Further reading: 7 Rules Even the Most Basic Backup & Disaster Recovery Plan Must Follow

Recovery must be built into your operations

Fire extinguishers are always bought ahead of time and are replaced when they reach their end of life. No one buys these only when a fire occurs. In a similar way, most of the tools and methods needed for meeting recovery objectives have to be integrated into your operations before disaster strikes.

These additions will mean expenses that have to be weighed against the costs of downtime and possible penalties from regulatory violations.

For example, if you want an RPO of five minutes and an RTO of one hour, then you’ll likely need the following:

  • Your IT environment completely replicated off site
  • A full backup done continuously
  • A test done daily

All of this is really expensive and impractical for most use cases. As a guide, business continuity and disaster recovery specialists use a three-tiered model to set recovery objectives.

Regardless of what causes downtime in your company, what’s important is recovering critical functions as quickly as possible.

Mission-critical systems Business-critical systems Noncritical systems
Description Systems put in place to achieve goals such as delivering utilities, preventing injuries, and saving lives Systems necessary for successful operations Systems that are part of an operation or function but are not essential for their fulfillment
Effect of system disruption or failure Substantial and immediate consequences to human lives Customer dissatisfaction, financial losses, regulatory penalties, reduced productivity User inconvenience, reduced productivity
Example applications Aviation control, disaster response communications systems Online transactions, cloud-based apps and storage Historical data, business intelligence analytics
Estimated RPO/RTO required Less than 15 minutes for both RPO and RTO RPO: 4 hours
RTO: 2 hours
RPO: 24 hours
RTO: 4 hours

Take note that your disaster recovery model may have distinctions based on the industry you’re in and the functions your organization performs. This means that you’ll need to have your requirements assessed to ensure that you set recovery objectives that are cost-effective and will serve you well during crises.

Every client's needs are unique, so XBASE provides a range of “Exponentially Better™” Disaster Recovery services to meet our clients’ specific requirements:

  • Remote backups
  • Remote replication
  • "Live" server replication – depending on recovery time objectives (RTOs)
  • Offsite tape storage

For your peace of mind, redundancy and recoverability is built into our disaster recovery solution:

  • Multiple Tier 3 data centres
    • Redundant and always-on power supply
    • Interconnected by a self-healing 10Gb/s fiber optic ring
  • State-of-the-art Cisco network
  • The latest technologies from our partners VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, and Zertos

Organizations in Toronto and across Canada gain peace of mind knowing that XBASE has their backs. To better understand how our Exponentially Better™ business continuity and disaster recovery services can protect your business and save you money in the long run, schedule a consultation with our IT experts today.