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Disaster recovery (DR) – a popular term in the IT industry, and an important subject for businesses. How does one explain disaster recovery to an organization without confusing them more than clarifying? Or without boring them? First, there are two critical terms we need to familiarize ourselves with and understand.

Recovery Time Objective (RTO): Simply put, how much time between the moment of the disaster and the time users can work again. Recovery Point Objective (RPO): How far back in time are you willing to go in case of a disaster? How much work and/or transactions can be lost without hindering business continuity? Both of these are typically counted in minutes, hours or days, and are directly related to how critical your processes and data are. The lower the number is for RTO and RPO, the higher the cost will be for a disaster recovery solution. Usually, it’s mostly core business applications and data that are included in the scope of a disaster recovery plan. If you think about it, what data is your business dealing with that is not business critical? Usually most of it is, but because disaster recovery can get pricey, some organizations choose to only include a certain percentage of their data in the plan. This, of course, means that you won’t access the data you didn’t include in the plan should a disaster occur.

It’s critical in today’s high technology business climate to be able to access the data and / or applications we need to operate our business in the event of a major system outage. The first part to determining that access is to think about and discuss RTO and RPO. Once you’ve determined those numbers an appropriate plan can be put into place.