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The Minimalist Guide to Recovery Time Objectives (RTO)

  
  
  

RTO guideBy Howard Podgurski

How long can you afford to be without your information technology?

What does information technology mean to your business? Do you know the business value with timelines of every device and application on your network? The warehouse PC with the shipping app probably has more immediate business value than the CEO’s PC with the business analysis app.

An often-overlooked aspect of information technology for small and mid-size organizations is the recovery time objective (RTO) from failures. This should not be confused with backups, which is only one component of RTO.

Simply put, RTO is the duration of time and a service level within which a certain business process must be restored after an IT disruption in order to avoid a break in business continuity.

The science of information technology, RTO, covers volumes on planning and technologies for a wide range of business needs. For many businesses, the investment in creating a comprehensive RTO plan may be hard to justify — but it doesn’t make it any less important.

When the need exists but the money doesn’t for this type of planning, it’s time for the minimalist guide to kick in. At a minimum, what are the things that can or should be done to avert a disruption of business operations?

Start by creating a timeline, an operational work flow chart.

Then, create a business value by application chart.

Overlay the two and see what matches up and how they coincide. This overlay will help with the creation of a recovery time objectives for all applications and devices on your network. Using my example above, the shipping PC app would probably rank very high in both categories as compared to the CEO business analysis PC app. 

howard podgurskiSo what are your options for RTO management? It’s a plan that includes a combination of tools, technologies and tasks. The tools include network monitoring and alerting automation. The technologies include backup technologies and network hardware. And the tasks include service level agreements with task assignments for resolving the problem.

Technology investment without RTO management pretty much negates the value in the first place.

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