Today, all organisations rely on digital solutions and technology to operate. Tech has been fantastic for businesses in many ways, allowing them to enhance productivity and reach new customers. However, the increasing reliance on tech also has its downsides - namely, the risk of downtime is a huge threat to businesses.

Downtime has many causes: natural disasters, cyber-attacks, and human error can lead to IT outages. Regardless of the reason, downtime has a negative impact. According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime can be up to $5,600 per minute.

While downtime can be impossible to avoid, how quickly you recover is entirely in your hands. This is where having a disaster recovery plan and a backup strategy becomes crucial.

What is disaster recovery and backup?

A disaster recovery plan refers to the processes an organisation puts in place to help them recover quickly from an unforeseen disaster. Speed and efficiency are everything. Among small companies that survive a catastrophe, 9 out of 10 fail to open within the following year if they cannot restore their operations within five days.

Your disaster recovery plan should contain detailed guidance that helps your people react to an incident in a calm and planned manner. An essential part of disaster recovery is ensuring you have backups in place.

In the event of a ransomware attack, for example, having backups in place will ensure you can resume operations quickly - without having to pay the hackers responsible to get your data back.

How do RTO and RPO fit into disaster recovery?

Two critical metrics within disaster recovery planning are Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). While, on first look, the two appear the same, they are actually very different and serve distinct purposes.

What is Recovery Time Objective (RTO)?

RTO refers to the duration of time it should take your company to restore business operations after a disaster. It should be measured from the moment an outage strikes. This measurement helps you to establish a goal time period within which to get your services back up and running.

After this period ends, your business will likely suffer long-term harm if you are not back up and running. Depending on your business model and the industry you operate in, RPO could be anywhere from minutes to days. Digital native companies like Facebook for example, will have a much shorter RTO than a brick and mortar retailer.

Here are some questions to consider that will guide the establishment of your RTO time objective:

  • After how many minutes or hours of downtime will your business suffer financial consequences?
  • What resources do you have to assist with recovering from an IT outage?
  • What solutions and processes do you have in place to restore your operations digitally?

What is Recovery Point Objective (RPO)?

RPO refers to the amount of data that can be lost within a time period before the business suffers financial, reputational or operational consequences. It is measured in minutes or hours, starting from an outage to the last valid backup.

To calculate RPO, you should think about how up-to-date your data needs to be in order for operations to run smoothly. In some businesses, data is altered minute to minute, while some companies rely on the same data for days at a time.

Here are some questions to consider that will guide the establishment of your RPO time objective:

  • How often does your company back up critical data?
  • How often are you editing or altering essential data?
  • Is any of your data not backed up?

Why should I use RTO and RPO?

A disaster recovery strategy that is high-level and impersonal to your business won't help you recover from an incident effectively. Your disaster recovery plan needs RTO and RPO to guide your actions in the event of a disaster.

With RTO and RPO in place, you know exactly how long you have to get operations back to normal, and can therefore prioritise your actions based on these metrics.

How to set RTO and RPO metrics for your business

RTO and RPO metrics need to be unique to your business. Using guesswork metrics will be ineffective. If you're not sure where to start with RTO and RPO, speak to us. We can create and manage your disaster recovery process from end-to-end, and will calculate RTO and RPO metrics for you.

Learn More About Implementing a Disaster Recovery Plan In Your Business

NetCare can help your Sydney area business with affordable options for advanced threat protection and disaster recovery that will ensure your network can keep up with the latest threats and cyberattacks.

Contact us today to learn more. Call (02) 9114 9920 or reach out online.