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Why Is It Crucial to Include RPO & RTO in Your Disaster Recovery Strategy?

By Chris Boudreau | April 18, 2022

In today’s day and age, every company is a technology business. Whether you’re a retailer, medical company, restaurant or nail salon, you rely on technology to conduct business, keep in touch with customers and look after your finances.

Because all businesses are so reliant on technology, having a plan for possible IT outages is essential. This sort of plan is what’s known as a disaster recovery strategy – guidance that will help you and your team, or your managed IT provider, to recover your IT operations after unplanned downtime. 

Disaster can strike at any point – floods, droughts and electrical outages can all cause downtime. And yet, despite this risk, research shows that almost 75% of small businesses don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place.

There are numerous reasons for this. A lack of time, budget, and expertise means disaster recovery planning is often put on the back burner. Alternatively, companies may take an ‘it won’t happen to me’ approach, and underestimate the importance of disaster recovery. 

Unfortunately, this is a risky approach to take. Research shows that almost 100% of companies without a disaster recovery plan close permanently after a disaster. More worryingly still, between 40 and 60% of small companies do not survive major disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding and even IT incidents.

By contrast, 93% of companies with disaster recovery plans are able to come out the other side of ransomware attacks. 

It’s not that disaster recovery prevents disasters. Rather, it helps you recover quickly, efficiently and calmly. 

Making Disaster Recovery Work for You

Of course, many SMBs do not have the in-house expertise or resources to design a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. The good news is that there’s still a way forward. 

You can lean on your managed IT provider to create and implement a disaster recovery plan for you. We’ve helped current clients implement disaster recovery plans, and we’ve helped new clients work through disasters, so get in touch if you’d like assistance. 

As you start your disaster recovery journey, you should be aware of two acronyms that you will see pop up again and again: Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO). 

Here’s a little more on what these two phrases mean and why they’re crucial. 

Recovery Time Objective (RTO)

RTO is a metric that is used to define the maximum amount of time your IT infrastructure can be offline after a disaster without harming the bottom line. Usually, this metric is measured in hours and minutes.

On average, you can expect your RTO to be somewhere around two hours. However, if you’re an e-commerce brand or rely heavily on IT to operate, this figure may be much lower. 

It’s worth remembering that RTO is a goal metric – but it might not always be achievable. Sometimes, IT outages are beyond your control. For example, if there’s a city-wide power outage, you may be offline longer than your RTO dictates.

Regardless, having this figure in mind is essential, so you know how much downtime your company can withstand before it’s negatively impacted.

Recovery Point Objective (RPO)

RPO is a metric that is used to define the maximum amount of time you can be offline before data loss will harm your business. Rather than focusing on IT infrastructure, this metric is all about your data. It’s also measured in hours and minutes, similarly to RTO. 

Your RPO can also help you to understand how much data you’ve lost after a disaster. RPO objectives should be combined with regular backup procedures to minimize the potential for data loss after an outage. 

After all, your disaster recovery plan is only as valuable as your last backup. While backups are easy to implement theoretically, you need to make sure that your data backs up automatically and routinely to prevent unintentional data loss. 

Improve Your Approach to Disaster Recovery and Backup With RPO and RTO 

As you can see, RPO and RTO are two critical metrics that will guide your company’s response to a disaster. Calculating these metrics can be tricky without deep knowledge of IT and data, so we recommend working with a specialist provider like us who can figure out these metrics for you. 

Moreover, a good provider will do much more than design your disaster recovery plan. They’ll also implement it for you, taking the lead in the event of a disaster and assisting you back to business as usual quickly and efficiently. 

Implement a Disaster Recovery Strategy Today!

For companies with limited in-house IT capabilities, our managed disaster recovery and backup solutions could prove invaluable in helping your business recover from an unexpected disaster. 

Contact us today to learn more at 519-672-0900 or through our website.

Committed to your success, we’ll get you ready to run your business with less effort and more impact.

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