What Is RTO? What You Need to Know About Recovery Time Objective

What is RTO? What You Need to Know About Recovery Time Objective

Recovery Time Objective (RTO) serves as the heart of every enterprise’s business continuity plan. In today’s business landscape, it’s practically a matter of time until an organization experiences a cyber attack (especially ransomware), a disruption, or downtime due to bad actors. With so much at stake regarding an enterprise’s infrastructure and data, you need a disaster recovery plan in place to ensure business continuity, should any of those events happen.

Assessing your enterprise’s tolerance for data loss and recovery time is an important step to realizing the impact of a potential disruption to its mission-critical applications and databases and any effects it may have on your infrastructure, end users, and customers.

And it all starts with RTO.

What is Recovery Time Objective (RTO)?

RTO is the maximum amount of time an organization has to recover from a disaster before the downtime causes a break in business continuity, resulting in significant repercussions. In other words, this is the time window the organization has to fix things before its operations and end users are significantly affected.

Here’s an example of such a scenario:

  • The organization has identified an RTO of three hours.
  • The organization experiences a disruption (such as an outage or malicious attacks like ransomware) that causes its entire infrastructure to go offline.
  • Since the RTO is three hours, the organization has three hours to get their infrastructure back online and functional before the downtime causes major issues for its operations, end users, and customers.

How Are RTO and RPO Different?

You’ll often see RTO and recovery point objective (RPO) grouped together when discussing the full breadth of disaster recovery. Both RTO and RPO are at the center of a business continuity plan, but each serves its own unique, essential purpose.

  • Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is primarily centered on data and an enterprise’s resilience to the loss of that data.
  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO) has a broader focus, and includes the entirety of the enterprise’s operations and applications. It identifies the length of time the enterprise can function properly in the event of downtime before its operations are significantly compromised.

How is RTO Calculated?

There are a number of factors to consider when calculating RTO.

The steps below can be used as a general outline to identify the baseline RPO for your enterprise:

  • Create a comprehensive list of each application and system used for standard business operations.
  • List out the teams and end users that would be disrupted by outages to their respective applications and systems.
  • Calculate estimates for losses in the event of downtime to these systems and applications, including revenue losses and additional expenses that would be incurred without access to them.
  • Is your enterprise responsible for overseeing customer data? Consult your service agreements to identify the precise time window you have for recovering the data.
  • List out applications that would be affected if there is an issue with a database.
  • Account for all customer-facing services that would go down, potentially resulting in negative backlash and loss of revenue.

Once you have accounted for each application, identify the one that would generate the most severe loss in the event of downtime—the recovery time for this application is now your enterprise’s baseline RTO.

Meet or Exceed Your RTOs with Clumio

Disaster recovery planning is essential for enterprises of all sizes looking to ensure business continuity during malicious attacks, downtime, and disruptions to infrastructure. Having a viable RTO—and the ability to meet or exceed the RTO—is a vital component to protecting both your business and its customers.

As a cloud-native data protection backup-as-a-service platform, Clumio’s industry-leading rapid recovery capabilities provide enterprises with quick and reliable data restores to help ensure business continuity in the face of downtime to critical infrastructure. By providing a seamless way to restore an entire instance as well as granularly recovering individual files, records, or mailboxes, Clumio optimizes data recovery to easily meet or beat your existing RTOs.

See firsthand why Clumio is the industry’s leading innovator for AWS cloud backup. Click here to schedule a demo and learn how your business can get started with Clumio in just 15 minutes—all without the need for new infrastructure, software, or any pre-planning beforehand.

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