Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) are 2 most important parameters for a disaster recovery and business continuity plan.
RPO is referred to the point in past which you will recover to in case of any disaster. In another words, it is the threshold of how much data you can afford to lose since the last backup. It limits how far to roll back in time. It defines how frequently a system is backed up. For instance if RPO is defined as 4 hours, and if a disaster occurs after 3 hours to the last backup, systems will roll back to the last good backup taken before the 3 hours.
RTO is referred to the point in time in future at which point you will be up and running in case of any disaster. In other words, it is the threshold of how quickly you need to have your systems up and running. It refers to the maximum allowed downtime for a system after any incident until the system resumes to normal state.
In an ideal world, both RPO and RTO should be zero. But in reality it is impossible and you need to define RPO and RTO smartly as per the business requirements. Having these 2 parameters well-defined will give a direction to which technology is best suitable for your business.
Factors for RPO:
- How frequently the sensitive data of your business is being changed?
- How often backups are taken?
- How much extra space you have for backups?
Factors for RTO:
- The amount of downtime your business can afford?
- How much cost you are willing to bear to resume systems back to normal?
- What you will require for restoring operations back to normal?
In general, the more you invest in your disaster recovery plan, the shorter will be the RPO and RTO. These parameters play an important role in your backup strategy so you must discuss it with your IT team and related third party vendors.