Disaster Recovery: RPO & RTO


For the modern business, ensuring that you have contingencies in place will go a long way toward keeping you in business if disaster strikes. One of the contingencies many businesses choose to make as part of a business continuity strategy is a disaster recovery plan. Disaster recovery is more than restoring data, it can mean mobilizing people and capital against time. Let’s take a look at two of the core components of a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy, Recovery Time Objective and Recovery Point Objective. 

Disaster Recovery Terms

Recovery Time Objective (RTO)

The recovery time objective is measured in time and is used to determine how long your business can go without its core data, resources, and computing infrastructure before you completely lose the continuity of your business. When a disaster hits, you need to act fast, but you also have to be practical and honest with yourself. If your business is hit by flood waters, how long do you have to get operations up and running again before you lose your contracts, and your business is irreparably harmed? RTO measures this.

Recovery Point Objective (RPO)

The recovery point objective is a tad bit simpler to explain. It is also measured in time, but deals with an organization’s data. The RPO dictates how much data a business is prepared to lose before it ceases to be a business any longer. Some businesses could lose everything and be just fine, but most businesses need to back up their data regularly in order to maintain continuity if something terrible does happen. 


RTO and RPO are both widely used in disaster recovery situations. Let’s take a brief look at how they work in concert with each other:


The calculation of these metrics is more about sustainability in the aftermath of a disaster rather than for simple business continuity. To calculate the RPO, you’ll need an intimate knowledge of what data you absolutely need to get back in the swing of things quickly. That way you can identify what data needs to be replaced and how long your business can go without it before it becomes more than just extended downtime. 

Conversely, in calculating RTO, you need to understand how many moving parts your business has and how fast they can be replaced. There is plenty of technology available today that can help make your business’ RTO smaller, but an RTO that is set too aggressively can be problematic and put your business in jeopardy.  

Assessment and Cost 

Simply put, the costs associated with maintaining a strict RTO will likely be greater than those for RPO. The reason is that, when considering the RTO, you need to look at your business’ complete computing infrastructure, while putting together a logistically possible RPO, you only have to consider data recovery.


To meet your organizational RPO standard, you will need to have a comprehensive backup platform in place that backs up both locally and to the cloud. That extra redundancy will come in handy as there are several different data disasters that can befall a business. You will just want to configure your backup solution with your RPO-specified backup intervals, and you will be protected. Obviously, automating RTO is less likely. While procuring resources can be automated, it comes with exorbitant costs, and is not an option for yours (or many other) businesses. 


It is important to build a disaster recovery plan that takes into account both the urgency of the situation with the costs involved with expediting situations that normally allow for time to hash plans out. Using RTO and RPO, you can have a disaster recovery plan in place for your lost IT and data that will work wonders on keeping you in business. Call our IT professionals today at (813) 749-0895 to talk about how we can help you set up a disaster recovery strategy for your business.

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