Businesses that use any form of technology to perform operations are at risk for theft, loss or corruption of IT systems and applications. To minimize these risks, businesses often establish recovery strategies that outline how to best restore regular business processes following a disaster. Unfortunately, not all businesses have these safeguards in place. According to a 2019 Global State of Cybersecurity in Small and Medium-Sized Businesses study published by the Ponemon Institute, approximately one-third (39 percent) of small and medium-sized businesses do not have an incident response plan for responding to cyber attacks and data breaches.
What Are Recovery Time Objectives?
Recovery time objective (RTO) is the maximum tolerable amount of time that a computer network, system or application can remain down after a disaster or widespread failure. RTOs are a crucial tool for disaster recovery planning and can help businesses identify which solutions and resources are necessary to successfully recover from a disaster.
It is important to remember that RTOs are not designed to help businesses recover data, but rather they establish how long the business can be down before there is a major impact on the business. Any amount of downtime can be bad for business but extended periods of disruption can result in major financial and reputational losses.
How To Determine An RTO?
Determining RTO involves understanding the various ways that downtime could affect a business and the amount of downtime that the business can reasonably tolerate. Every business will likely experience downtime at one time or another, so having a goal of zero downtime is unrealistic.
RTOs can differ significantly from business to business, but some of the most common recovery time objectives include an hour, current business day, close of business, tomorrow, three days, within one week or beyond one week. Also consider how the business’s RTO may be different based on environmental factors, such as the season. Some ways to help determine an RTO include:
Aligning RTOs With IT Department Capabilities
Establishing an RTO is not going to be effective if the business’s IT department is not capable of restoring business processes within the specified length of time. When determining an RTO, it is important to consider the capabilities of the IT department and the technology that the IT professionals have available to them.
Acquire feedback from the IT department to gain a clearer picture of what the department is realistically able to accomplish within the timeframe and with the resources available. For an RTO to be successful, RTOs must align with IT department capabilities.
Assessing Comprehension Levels Of Different Types Of Restore Speeds
Before specifying an RTO for a business, IT administrators should gain a solid comprehension of the various types of restore speeds. There is no one right RTO for every business, and what is a tolerable amount of downtime for one business may be too much for another business.
If an IT department determines that the minimum restore time is no less than three hours, a business cannot expect processes to be recovered in just one or two hours. RTOs can be complex as the process involves restoring a range of critical IT operations. While some IT processes can be automated, others require input from an IT specialist, which can lengthen recovery time.
Understanding The Strength Of Your Business Infrastructure
The strength of a business’s infrastructure plays a vital role in its ability to quickly restore processes following a disaster or major failure. Businesses that have solid infrastructures are better equipped to restore processes within a short amount of time and with minimum risk and financial loss.
However, weaker business infrastructures may take considerably longer to recover due to a general lack of planning, minimal IT budget, and similar factors. For an RTO to be manageable, businesses must make recovery planning a priority.
Determining The Costs Of Attaining An RTO
The estimated cost of attaining an RTO will usually be matched with the business’s IT department’s prioritization of data and applications. When an application’s data is regulated, any loss from the app resulting from downtime could lead to hefty fines for the business.
The cost of downtime for a business can be excessive and the longer the downtime continues, the more money the company loses. Performing a business impact analysis can help businesses gain the insight needed to determine the costs of both planned and unplanned downtime.
Reach Out To An Experienced Managed IT Services Provider
Technology is not flawless, and a natural disaster, fire or other catastrophe could cause periods of downtime for a business that relies on computer systems, networks or applications to run processes. For companies concerned about the state of their business recovery plan, managed IT services are available. Reach out to the trained and certified IT professionals at SeaGlass Technology today to schedule a consultation.