It is not abnormal to find IT businesses having a low tolerance for downtime. A good reason for this is that downtime costs businesses a lot. Findings from Gartner survey affirm that the average cost implication of downtime for IT businesses is over $5,500 for every minute they are down. This statistics brings a whole new context to downtime and a better understanding of why a business should prepare better for them. Just imagine an hour of downtime for an IT business.
This does not stop here. Downtime is just one problem that can induce other problems. For example, downtime causes reduced productivity, allows customers to get aggrieved, causing disengagement, and makes you eligible for fines regarding compliance. All of these could get your business closed permanently.
What’s more, businesses are prone to downtime. However, they know this and act accordingly. They make plans against the best and worse scenarios. Hence, we can say that it is businesses that determine how well a disaster affects them. In other words, how well a business handles its downtime will affect its ultimate cost.
How Do Businesses Face Downtime?
Businesses and IT professionals limit downtime risks by implementing a comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan. While this plan has many components, the two most important aspects of a BCDR plan are the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and the Recovery Time Objective (RTO).
These two aspects of a BCDR plan calculate the potential losses when vital systems fail and establish methods for restarting services to restore operations and satisfy service level agreements (SLAs). They essentially serve as a realistic foundation on which IT directors and companies can develop and implement effective BCDR plans.
But first, we need to define these two aspects or factors of an effective BCDR post. Read on to get enlightened.
What Is Recovery Time Objective (RTO)?
A recovery time objective is the period of time between the occurrence of a disruptive incident (such as a supply chain attack) and when the impacted resource(s) must be completely operational and ready to aid the organization in achieving its objectives.
When a resource is interrupted, business staff must embark on specific activities to get it back to complete working condition. Some of these activities are repairing broken components, reprogramming, and testing. It is compulsory that these activities be undergone for the business to resume business operations.
It is common knowledge that the shorter an RTO is in terms of time, the higher the cost of recovery, and vice versa. As a result, it is essential that business unit executives (representing all units) participate in determining RTO thresholds. For example, unit and departmental heads might be gunning for a 30-minute RTO, and because this will cost the business big time, it might not be approved. Both sides (unit heads and C-level executives must then find common ground to ensure services are dimly affected.
What Is Recovery Point Objective (RPO)?
Recovery point objective refers to the point in time when businesses can continue their services without hassle after a disruption. To put it simply, it is the time between two backups.
When talking about data backup and recovery, the recovery point objective is very significant. Organizations such as banks and financial transaction platforms/businesses that initiate and store records of millions of transactions throughout a day are more likely to utilize this factor in their BCDR plan. These businesses know the importance of backups and how often they should get them.
Many even want their backups in real-time as these would enable them to have the most current vital data for their unique needs accessible for future transactions. Businesses of these kinds need their data to be as current as possible, and this means close backup times to ensure the latest data is always safe and ready for use in the case of any emergency.
The implication is that businesses that have low RPOs will need constant backup action of files and databases. However, like RTO values, the higher the RPO value, the more expensive the setup.
What Determines RPO and RTO Thresholds?
Note that these two factors are factors of risk, i.e., they are calculated by measures of risk. RTO determines how long a business can hold on after a disruption, and RPO determines how fresh the backed-up data is when recovery is needed. Both are time conscious, but while RTO focuses on system recovery, RPO focuses on data loss or recovery.
To properly and correctly calculate RTO values and thresholds, it is vital to consider the goals of an organization. This helps determine the best possible RTO thresholds for an organization.
Calculating RTO involves evaluating all systems, applications, and data with the purpose of finding out how well they impact business operations. Below are some factors that help determine RTO:
- Importance of systems
- Disaster recovery measures
- Cost of outage per hour
Determining RPO is directly related to risk assessment. RPO ensures businesses balance risk with the impact of recovery. Below are some factors that help professionals calculate RPO:
- Cost of data loss
- Cost of employing data recovery solutions
- The maximum amount of data loss a business can tolerate
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