Recovery point objective (RPO) refers to an acceptable amount of data loss following a disruption of service. Along with recovery time objective (RTO), a recovery point objective is one of the most important parameters of disaster recovery management. When a disaster occurs, such as theft, corruption, or a natural disaster, it is essential for a business to be able to recover quickly. RPO measures a company’s loss tolerance or the amount of data that can be lost before significant harm.
What Are Recovery Point Objectives?
Businesses aim to have no downtime. However, this is not always realistic, especially for businesses that rely heavily on technology. From power outages and ransomware attacks to floods and human error, these unpredictable events can wreak havoc on business operations. Recovery point objectives are a critical component of any solid business continuity or disaster recovery plan. When determining an RPO, it is important to consider how much data the business can afford to lose in terms of time. Some businesses can only afford to lose a couple of hours of work, while others can afford to lose a day or more without serious repercussions.
Factors That Influence Defining RPOs
There are several aspects that a business must consider when determining RPOs, such as the frequency in which files are updated. This concept helps ensure that all operations are up-to-date following an interruption of service. The most common factors that can influence RPOs include the following:
The Type Of Industry
Industry plays a major role in determining recovery point objectives. Some businesses work with considerably more sensitive information than others, such as banks that store financial transactions and hospitals that have thousands of health records on file. These enterprises naturally have to update their files more frequently, which will ultimately influence RPOs.
How Data Is Stored
Businesses must also consider how their data is stored when establishing RPOs. An enterprise may choose to store data in a number of different ways, such as on the cloud or in physical appliances. How business data is stored will determine how quickly it can be accessed following a disaster or other disruptive events.
Considerations With Compliance
Compliance issues may also arise when developing a disaster recovery plan and RPOs. It is important to consider any relevant compliance schemes that contain clauses that may affect the availability of data following a disaster. To remain in compliance, some businesses may be forced to minimize the acceptable amount of data that can be lost in a disaster.
What Is Failover?
When a computer system fails, businesses risk losing critical data that could put their enterprises at risk. A failover is designed to prevent this type of loss by acting as a backup source. Failover is a process in which a system is immediately and automatically switched over to a backup if a problem occurs. When a business system or machine contains a failover mechanism, it is able to continue operating even when it experiences a disruption. Due to the seamless process of switching over to the backup system, users do not usually notice that there has been a change.
Today, most businesses have procedures in place that consist of switching to a backup system when disaster strikes. Production facilities, retail stores, banks, and countless other businesses use failover mechanisms to protect against costly losses and downtime. This concept is often referred to as an ‘automatic failover’ as it allows the systems administrator to automatically switch data to a standby system. There are many types of failover methods used by businesses, such as DNS services, on-edge services, and hardware solutions. When choosing a failover solution for a business, consider the organization’s RPOs to minimize the amount of data that is lost when switching to the backup server.
Failover Methods To Consider
- DNS Services — A domain name system (DNS) is a type of naming system used for computers linked to the web or a private network. DNS services can be used to direct traffic from hardware to an off-site data center.
- On-Edge Services — The failover process is managed by a third party off-site, which allows the data to be easily routed during a disaster. On-edge services help eliminate TTL-related delays, which are more common in DNS services and do not result in any additional costs.
- Hardware Solutions — When physical appliances are kept on-site, traffic can be automatically routed to a backup server if a disaster occurs. However, this means that the backup solution is located in the same location as the original server.
Learn More From An Experienced Managed IT Service Provider
Understanding RPO and how they impact business is critical when developing a disaster recovery or continuity plan. For more information about RPOs or to speak with an experienced managed IT services provider, contact SeaGlass Technology.