Disaster recovery is pretty important, right? You need to be able to work at some point if your network goes down because of a major disaster, whether it’s a natural disaster or a result of some sort of network invasion or massive failure. While there are a lot of acronyms in the technology management industry, when it comes to disaster recovery and continuity, the most important two are RPO and RTO. RPO is the Recovery Point Objective, or the point in time in the past that you will recover to. Recovery Time Objective refers to the point in the future when you’ll be up and running once again.

Recovery Point Objective

Your RPO is important. Of course, every business owner wants to recover the most recent backup they possibly can, but having backups running constantly can be costly, depending on how much data you have. Most backups are run once a day, but if you’re only backing up data every 24 hours, there’s potential to lose an entire day’s worth of data if there is a disaster. Ideally you have real time backup, where your data is being backed up as it is created. Real time backup comes at a cost, particularly if you have a lot of data that’s being backed up.

Why should I care?

Depending on the business that you’re in, how big you are and how frequently your data is being updated – you can determine where your investment should fall and where your objective should be set. Some businesses can afford to lose a day of data, others cannot. Some businesses can’t afford to lose a minute’s worth of data (a bank would be a good example of a business like this).

Recovery Time Objective

RTO matters just as much as RPO, and more to a certain extent. Why? Data takes time to restore. The majority of backups use technology that is image-based with offsite replication that is really just designed to protect the data via backups. A standard recovery process with this backup method typically takes around 24 hours. Add this onto the fact that your backup is already 24 hours old and you’re dealing with two days of missed data and revenue. If you have a continuity solution the images are also replicated offsite, but live in a virtualized cloud environment that can be turned on. In this scenario recovery can happen in just a few hours (this varies, since it’s dependent on your provider, since things have to be repointed and changed). It’s worthwhile to note that if you have enough budget, you can purchase and configure hardware to make your continuity solution truly seamless.

Why should I care?

Recovery time matters. If you have a 24-hour old backup, but it will take another day to get up and running, that’s two full days of businesses data that you’re missing out on. For a small business, this may not be a big issue, but for larger organizations this can mean tens or hundreds of thousands in lost revenue.

If you’ve been utilizing a traditional backup and recovery system, you’ve got some math to do. Sit down and take a moment to understand the true financial impact of downtime in your organization. Calculate employees salaries, lost sales and how much unproductive employees cost you. Can your business afford to be down for the prospects and clients that will need you? Can it even operate? Understanding this will help you determine if business continuity is right for you.

It’s hard to illustrate the devastating impact that downtime can truly have. But once you understand what you stand to lose, you’ll be much more likely to understand how a business continuity solution can serve you.