Matt Elvers, July 2023

A Chat with the Expert: What Do RTO and RPO Really Mean?     

Working in the IT field, you probably hear a lot of acronyms thrown around regularly, and it can get a little redundant after a while. Two acronyms you are most likely familiar with are RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and RPO (Recovery Point Objective) – but do you understand how they affect your work day-to-day?  

We sat down with Matt Elvers, ProLion’s Technical Team Lead, to discuss the main points to consider when you are measuring RTO and RPO:  

Why should you consider RTO when planning your disaster recovery strategy?  

Matt Elvers (ME): RTO is a measurement that represents the time it takes to recover a system or service and restore it to its normal functioning state following a failure or disaster. It’s used for business continuity planning and disaster recovery. Okay, so why should it be important to consider? A disaster recover strategy is only effective if recovery efforts are prioritized so that the impact of disruptions is minimized. By establishing an RTO, organizations can set clear recovery objectives and ensure that their business operations can be restored within an acceptable timeframe after an incident. 

Great! How about RPO?  

ME: Just like RTO, RPO is another important measure used in disaster recovery. While RTO focuses on the duration of downtime, RPO focuses on the acceptable amount of data loss that an organization can tolerate after a disruption. To put simply, RPO represents the point in time in which data must be recovered in order to resume normal operations after an incident.  

When considering RPO for a system or process, you need to think about data criticality, business requirements, regulatory obligations, and the organization’s tolerance for data loss. By defining an RPO, organizations can design appropriate backup, replication, and data recovery strategies to ensure that data is protected and can be restored within the acceptable recovery point. 

Can a company afford to ignore RTO and RPO? 

ME: Absolutely not. Choosing to ignore RTO and RPO could have severe consequences for a company. I’m talking about operational disruptions, financial losses, legal risks, and reputational damage. I can’t say this enough – it is crucial for companies to prioritize these objectives and develop in-depth business continuity and disaster recovery plans to ensure the resilience and continuity of their operations. 

How does a company go about setting up RTO and RPO? 

ME: Every company is different, so it’s important to approach your disaster relief plan from a holistic angle and think about the requirements to set your company up for success. When setting the foundation for your RTO and RPO, conduct a thorough assessment of your organization’s critical systems, processes, and data. Identify the dependencies, interdependencies, and the impact of downtime or data loss on your business operations.  

Then, periodically reviewed and adjusted your RTO and RPO based on changes in business requirements, technology advancements, and risk assessments. You should also communicate the expectations and responsibilities to the relevant stakeholders like your IT teams, management, and end-users.  

RestoreManager as part of your disaster recovery strategy

Now that we have a better grasp on how RTO and RPO can affect a business, can you tell us more about RestoreManager and how this solution can fit into your disaster recovery strategy?  

ME: Sure. We all know the headache of misplacing or accidentally deleting files. If one or more files need to be recovered, it can be a real challenge to locate them quickly. RestoreManager is a great tool to add to your disaster recovery plan because the solution creates a central catalog of files and relevant snapshots enabling detailed search by name, file type, date, or size. 

Want to learn more about RestoreManager? Email [email protected] or check out this one-pager here: 

About the Author

Matt Elvers is the Technical Team Lead at ProLion, offering technical support and team management for the U.S. market. He has extensive experience in cybersecurity and storage architecture and has touched almost every aspect of the data center. From storage engineer to director of IT, Matt has worked at major companies including Lockheed Martin, Arrow Electronics, and Leidos. He is certified by Dell EMC, NetApp, and CompTIA Security+.  

About ProLion

ProLion offers powerful data protection solutions that safeguard critical storage and backup data, on-premises or in the cloud. From ransomware protection that detects threats in real time to data transparency, our industry-leading solutions ensure your storage system remains secure, compliant, manageable, and accessible around the clock.