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Recovery Time Objectives and Business Continuity Disaster Recovery

For modern businesses, having access to data is a basic survival need.

However, it is all too easy for a company to lose access to its primary data center for a prolonged period of time.

Power outages, hardware failures, network outages, human error, cyberattacks, the list of disasters that can take down a company’s primary production environment go far beyond natural catastrophes.Business continuity disaster recovery (BCDR) plans add resiliency to help businesses continue normal operations in the face of a disaster. There are many critical components to an effective DR solution, but one of the most important aspects of DR is the recovery time objective (RTO).

Why Recovery Time is Important

The time it takes to get operations back to normal is a core component of business continuity disaster recovery, and one of the key factors that separates it from traditional backups.

With a traditional, data-only backup solution, the time to recovery can be days. How much does a business lose when it doesn’t have access to its data or primary computing resources for several days?

The answer will vary based on the nature of the business—larger companies typically hemorrhage money faster during an outage.

According to statistics from a CA Technology survey cited by “small enterprises lost, on average, more than $55,000 in revenue due to IT failures each year, while midsize companies lost more than $91,000 and large companies lost more than $1,000,000. A datacenter outage by itself can cost more than $5,600 per minute.”

There are many factors that contribute to the cost of an outage, such as:

  • Reduced employee productivity;
  • Lost business opportunities;
  • Expenses accrued in trying to restore normal operation;
  • Interruptions in the supply chain caused by miscommunications; and
  • Potential compliance violations & penalties.

These costs only get worse the longer that mission-critical business data and applications remain unavailable. Given enough time, the expenses and lost revenue can drive a business to bankruptcy. So, being able to recover from a disaster quickly is a critical part of ensuring business continuity.

Ensuring Fast RTOs in Disaster Recovery

To ensure fast RTOs in a DR solution, several elements have to be in place.

First, companies need to have a remote copy of their primary production environments.

Second, there needs to be computing resources either held in reserve or actively powered on to take over the company’s computing load.

Third, there needs to be a series of fault detection systems and failover systems arrayed with one or two layers of redundancy to help the process of initiating the replication environment and reassigning the traffic load to it in case of primary production environment loss.

Finally, companies must rigorously test their DR solution to ensure that it will work as well as verify actual recovery time.

Solutions such as virtual machine (VM) based disaster recovery help ensure fast recovery times by leveraging the flexibility of virtualization to freely move VMs from one server to any replication target running a compatible hypervisor.

The importance of recovery time objectives for business continuity disaster recovery (BCDR) plans cannot be overstated. However, RTOs are only one component of effective BCDR, there are many other elements to consider. Learn more about how to create a powerful BCDR solution today!