RTO, or recovery time objective, is the target time you set to recover your IT and business activities after a disaster.
The goal is to calculate how quickly you need recovery, which can then dictate the type of preparations you need to implement and the overall budget you should assign to business continuity.
For example, suppose you find that your RTO is five hours, meaning your business can survive with systems down for this amount of time. In that case, you will need to ensure a high level of preparation and a higher budget to ensure that systems can be recovered quickly.
On the other hand, if the RTO is two weeks, you can probably budget less and invest in less advanced solutions.
Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
RPO, or recovery point objective, is focused on data and your company’s loss tolerance concerning your data.
RPO is determined by looking at the time between data backups and the amount of data that could be lost in between backups.
As part of business continuity planning, you need to figure out how long you can afford to operate without that data before the business suffers.
A good example of setting an RPO is imagining that you are writing an essential yet lengthy report. Think to yourself that eventually, your computer will crash, and any content written after your last save will be lost. How much time can you tolerate trying to recover or rewrite that missing content? That time becomes your RPO and should become the indicator of how often you back your data up or, in this case, save your work.
If you find that your business can survive three to four days in between backups, then the RPO would be three days (the shortest time between backups).
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