Your recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs) are the two most important parameters in any disaster recovery plan. While your RPO refers to how much data your business can afford to lose, the RTO is the maximum amount of time it should take to get a system back up and running. Both objectives determine what your business can afford to lose in the event of a disaster like a hardware failure or cyberattack.
Since any unforeseen event can lead to some amount of disruption, administrators are always looking for ways to reduce their RPOs and RTOs by implementing the right blend of process and technology. The shorter these values, the more you can reduce risk and all the costs and productivity losses associated with them.
Here are five proven ways to tighten your recovery objectives:
#1. Prioritize your operations
There are a few hard and fast rules when it comes to disaster recovery planning. To increase resilience, business leaders and IT executives need to agree on what’s important and how any risks facing crucial systems can impact the organization. That’s why you’ll need to define different recovery objectives for each system. For example, most business-critical operations should be able to continue unhindered for a time if your marketing department runs into some problems, but you could be in serious trouble if accounting ends up facing extended downtime.
#2. Back up data more frequently
This should be an obvious one, but backing up data is still something a lot of companies have yet to master. After all, backing up data consumes storage space, bandwidth, and man hours (if you’re relying on manual processes). But you’ll also see an immediate gain if you increase the frequency of your backups by taking more regular snapshots of your critical data. It also takes less time to recover more recent backups, since there’s less data to restore.
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#3. Implement redundant systems
Every business should have a secondary copy of its live data that it can instantly switch to in the event of a system failure, while redundant systems are updated in real time. Add automatic rollovers, and employees should be able to continue working as normal even if primary systems fail. However, it’s also important to isolate both systems so that an attack, such as ransomware, doesn’t end up compromising both. Many businesses achieve this by maintaining redundant systems off-site.
#4. Use block recovery solutions
Changed block technology works a little like incremental backups where they don’t copy over data that’s already on the backup system. This reduces bandwidth consumption and saves storage space. Changed block recovery is often used with virtual machines, which exist as single files on a server. It works by tracking which disk sectors have changed since the previous update before copying over the new data.
#5. Move your operations to the cloud
For many businesses, particularly those with little or no in-house IT expertise, migrating to the cloud is the obvious first step in reducing your RTOs and RPOs. Data stored in the cloud is typically kept in at least three different physical locations, complete with automated rollovers to keep any disruptions to a minimum. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean your data is secure in the cloud; it just means you’ll have access to the right tools to make it so. Many outsourced disaster recovery partners are legally bound by their service level agreements (SLAs) to meet your recovery goals.
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