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Recovery Point Objective(RPO) and Recovery Time Objective(RTO)

Disaster Recovery is one of the most important terminologies among system administrators as organisations continue to increasingly rely on technology to run their line of websites/apps, emails, various business applications and day to day operations. Two parameters that play an important role in disaster recovery are Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO). Both this parameter form the basis of an organisation`s disaster recovery and business continuity plans including how the system administrators plan the backup processes, frequency of the backup, the recovery time limits and recovery procedures. Though similar these parameters are largely different. There are other metrics too such as a recovery point actual or recovery point objective which can only be determined during a real-life scenario or a DR drill.


RPO is defined as the maximum tolerable amount of data that can be lost after the recovery of data from a system failure or an equivalent event that is acceptable to the organisation. In case of an RPO of 60 minutes, the IT infrastructure must be set up to back up the organisation data every 60 minutes.


RTO is defined as the metric which would determine the amount of time it would take to recover your infrastructure after a disaster or a failure that is acceptable to the organisation. For instance, if you set up the RTO to be 4 hours, then within this timeframe your business operations must normalise as per the business continuity and disaster recovery plan.


Factors affecting RPO:
● Maximum tolerable data loss for the specific organization.
● Industry-specific factors — businesses dealing with sensitive information such as financial transactions or health records must update more often.
● Data storage options, such as physical files versus cloud storage, can affect the speed of recovery
● The cost of data loss and lost operations.
● Compliance schemes include provisions for disaster recovery, data loss, and data availability that may affect businesses.

Factors affecting RTO:
● The cost per hour of outage.
● The importance and priority of individual systems.
● Steps required to recover post a disaster (including individual components and processes).
● Available budget, infrastructure and resources.

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