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Photo credit kylesteed,

Photo credit kylesteed,

In a perfect world, everything would always go exactly according to plan and there would never be any disruptions to business continuity. Unfortunately, this is real life and of course that’s never the case. Errors occur, hardware fails and any number of other problems can arise without warning.

There are plenty of things you can do to prevent system outages and other downtime, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. That’s why it’s best to not only have a strong prevention plan, but also a solid disaster recovery strategy in case things end up going wrong.

The first step to building a good disaster recovery plan is determining the RPO and RTO for a business. We know you’re already inundated with acronyms in the world of IT (there’s another one!) so let’s talk briefly about what RPO and RTO are.

RPO or recovery point objective determines the frequency at which backups need to be taken. If a business frequently edits crucial data files that would be difficult or impossible to recreate, they will need to backup their data multiple times a day. Most businesses, however, could recreate at least one day’s worth of work without much difficulty, and would be satisfied with daily backups.

RTO or recovery time objective determines how much downtime a business can tolerate and how quickly they need to be back up and running in the case of an outage. This can range from seconds or minutes to hours or days.

When determining RTO, consider all the factors that downtime entails:

  • Lost business (Revenue): This is the obvious factor when considering how much downtime is acceptable for a business. Time is money, and the longer a business is not operational, the longer it’s missing out on making money.
  • Lost productivity (Labor): If systems are down, the workforce is not able to be productive, but they’re still being paid to be at work. In addition to not making any money during downtime, businesses lose out on paying for labor that’s going unused.
  • IT resources (Recovery): Bouncing back from downtime is sometimes easier said than done. If a company doesn’t have in-house IT resources, this can require an emergency call to their IT service provider. If they don’t have a working backup in place, this can also include the cost of data recovery from failed equipment.
  • Lost credibility (Trust): When companies have system outages, people notice. In today’s day and age of data breaches and hacking scandals, downtime leads to skepticism from the general public. Downtime could leave customers questioning their trust in an organization.

After you’ve determined your RPO and RTO, don’t just sit on that information. These two factors will help you determine the backup and disaster recovery strategy that is right for each unique situation. As previously stated, having a short RPO requires multiple backups per day and having a fast RTO requires a backup solution that allows for quick restores.

Gillware’s Full Image Backup solution is scalable to meet various RPO and RTO needs. The solution includes local backup storage for full server images, with customizable image backup frequencies to meet any RPO. To meet aggressive RTOs, users can restore from the local storage to be back up in no time. Additionally, the solution stores 10 daily images, four weekly images and two monthly images offsite in case the local image is inaccessible due to fire, flood or other disaster. Gillware can ship a copy of the offsite image on an external drive within one business day. Typically, the drive is ready to ship within four hours of the request, so even in the most severe of disaster situations, RTOs can be considered.

Don’t wait until the situation arises to determine RPO and RTO. Know your limits, set your goals and have a solid backup and disaster recovery plan in place before you need one!

Want to learn more about Gillware’s Full Image Backup Solution? Click the button below to view our recorded webinar.

EDIT: As of September 2016, Gillware Online Backup has been acquired by StorageCraft. Click here to learn more about their backup solutions. Click here to learn more about becoming a StorageCraft Partner.