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What is RTO and RPO?

19 June 2017

What's the difference between RPO and RTO, and why are these terms so important when selecting and implementing a disaster recovery solution?

It’s vital that anybody involved in the implementation of a Disaster Recovery plan understands what the terms “Recovery Point Objective” (RPO) and “Recovery Time Objective” (RTO) refer to. This crucial part of selecting a suitable Disaster Recovery solution can mean the difference between losing less than ten minutes of data and being restored within an hour, or losing a whole day’s worth of data and being unable to get back to work for another day (or worse still – losing the data all together because no DR plan has been implemented at all!). So without further ado, what is RPO and RTO?

Recovery Point Objective (RPO)

The RPO of a business characterises the maximum acceptable period of time that can pass between the time that data was last backed up and a critical failure such as a cyber attack. For example, if an organisation backs up every evening at 5pm, suffers a major outage at 10am the next morning, yet has an RPO of just one hour, they are out of the parameters of their RPO by 16 hours and are most likely suffering from quantifiable losses at this point. Ouch!

In contrast, if the same organisation replicates any data changes in real time, then suffers a major outage at 10am, it can hypothetically recover all data up to a point well within its hour’s RPO, a timescale that in this example is deemed suitable within the context of the business and the data that has been lost.  

Recovery Time Objective (RTO)

An RTO, on the other hand, refers to the period of time that an organisation deems acceptable to suffer downtime following an incident, during which a business environment or process is recovered. This is completely separate to an RPO, in that while an RPO refers to the tangible loss of data between the last point of backup and an incident, the RTO refers to the time it takes following the incident before all systems resume as normal.

Attainable RPOs and RTOs with a Prodec Networks DR Solution

RPO: Prodec's real-time hosted DR service allows for a Recovery Point Objective of as little as five minutes prior to the critical failure to be met (dependant on bandwidth).

RTO: Following an instance of data loss or systems inaccessibility, Prodec's hosted DR service can restore an entire business environment in as little as one hour, minimising any downtime.

Learn more about Prodec’s DR services by clicking here or by clicking on the banner below.

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