Why Are RTO & RPO So Important to Backup & Recovery?

Why Are RTO & RPO So Important to Backup & Recovery

Does your backup and disaster recovery plan include RTO and RPO? If not, then it’s incomplete and can leave you without the ability to return operations as quickly as you want. Not having these components can also cause you to lose data that’s not recoverable.

RTO stands for recovery time objective and RPO stands for recovery point objective. Both are integral pieces of your disaster recovery and business continuity planning.

Data loss is experienced by most companies at some point, even if they are backing up their data. 74% of surveyed businesses said they have experienced data loss within the last five years. 52% of companies said they could not recover all their data after a data loss incident.

This is a classic example of a lack of incorporating RPO into a backup strategy.

Even large companies are ill-prepared at times. For example, the ransomware attacks in 2021 on Colonial Pipeline and JBS (the world’s largest beef and pork producer) both ended up with the companies paying millions in ransom to attackers. 

Those companies were backing up data, yet still didn’t know if they could restore that data faster than if they paid the attackers. They didn’t do proper testing of their RTO.

Let’s take a close look at each of these vital backup and recovery components.

Recovery Point Objective

Your recovery point objective is the point at which you can afford data loss. For example, if you want to be able to recover all data that was created within the last day, then you would have a 24-hour recovery point objective.

This means that at worst, you would lose one workday worth of data that was generated or captured by your organization. 

It’s important to set a recovery point objective because this will dictate how often you back up all your devices and cloud data.

When considering RPO, you also need to consider how many backups you can store and how long you want to store them.

If you have a 1-hour RPO and want to have at least 6-months’ worth of backups on hand, then that will take a lot more storage capacity than having 6-months’ worth of once-per-day backups.

So, factor both your need to keep data loss to a minimum and your storage costs into your RPO and backup strategy.

Recovery Time Objective

Recovery time objective is your goal for the amount of time it takes you to recover. While most companies would want to have as fast an RTO as possible, it needs to be realistic. It doesn’t help you if you have an unreachable RTO.

You need to look at your backup and recovery systems as well as any other operational systems that would need to be restored should your company be hit with a cyberattack or other disaster. Then estimate how long it would take you to recover, and put mechanisms in place to reduce that time as much as possible.

The backup and recovery solution you choose will play a big part in reaching your RTO. Not all backup systems have a fast recovery capability. You want to be capturing full image backups of systems, rather than just backing up files. This allows for faster restoration of systems.

Your RTO needs to be tested regularly through disaster recovery drills, where your team goes through the process of recovering backed-up data to your systems so you can see exactly how long it takes.

23% of businesses never test their data recovery plans.

Testing your backup and recovery every 6-12 months provides multiple benefits:

  • Provides you with a realistic recovery time estimate
  • Highlights areas of recovery that need improvement
  • Gets your team familiar with the things they need to do, which can reduce recovery time during a real crisis
  • Gives you a running benchmark of how you’re doing as compared to the last drill

Tips for Faster Data Recovery  

Ensure All Data is Being Backed Up

Don’t miss any important data when putting a backup and recovery plan in place. Make sure you are backing up data stored on cloud software tools (like Microsoft 365), employee mobile devices, and remote employee computers.

Work with an IT Pro Before a Crisis

If you wait until after a crisis to call on an IT professional, they’re going to have to take valuable time learning your systems. They won’t know you or your technology.

If you’re already working with someone for managed IT services, then the help can come much faster because of their familiarity with your systems.

Make Sure to Test Your Backup & Recovery

Yes, interrupting your operations to do a test of recovery capabilities can be a hassle at times. But it’s vital to do so you’re not caught off-guard in the case of a malware attack (like Colonial Pipeline and JBS were). 

Plan drills during your least busy times of the year and month, and stick to these drills so you can ensure you’re prepared.

Need Help Putting a Reliable Business Continuity Plan in Place?

Quantum PC Services can help your Sturgeon Bay area business put the necessary components in place to ensure your business is prepared for any type of emergency.

Contact us today to learn more! Call 920-256-1214 or reach us online.