What is Your Critical Data Worth – Understanding RPO and RTO

Every business needs to have a disaster recovery plan in place, but not many understand how to calculate the value of critical data or how to determine the proper solution to implement. First, you need to understand what data is critical to your business and what data could potentially be lost without having an enormous impact on your business. Once you determine the critical data, you need to calculate RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and RTO (Recovery Time Objective).

RPO is the point to which you can afford to go back to should a catastrophic system failure occur. In other words, it’s the measure of how much data you can afford to lose. Most of the time, this would be measured in hours. Do your business applications require a daily back up or do you have applications that require real-time replication? The best way to begin to measure RPO is to evaluate how often your current back-ups occur.

RTO is the time at which it would take to restore critical application data. Email may be less critical to restore than your CRM application. Maybe email can wait for 24 hours, but your billing systems or CRM application needs to be restored within 2 to 4 hours. Each business application will have a different RTO. Building a hierarchy of applications will help in determining the time required to restore each.

Once you and your team understand the RPO/RTO relating to critical data, you’ll be able to better determine what that data is worth to you and how much downtime your business can afford. Keep in mind, the closer you want to get to zero downtime (the center of the graph above), the more you’ll have to pay for a solution. One Gartner analyst last year said, “75% of companies without a business continuity plan fail within 3 years of a major disaster [where critical data is lost]”.

If you have not put together a Disaster Recovery and/or Business Continuity plan yet, we urge you to do so soon. If you need help putting together a DR/BC plan this year, call us to schedule a free consultation. We would be glad to engage the right resources to help you mitigate the risk and avoid the next looming disaster.

Wishing you a blessed and prosperous 2013,

Derek W. Roush
President & CEO
VocalPoint Consulting Group

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