RPO & RTO: What Are They & Why Do You Need Them?

7 months ago | by C3 Group

Read time: 2 minutes

It’s no doubt that all of us would hope our business is robust enough to survive a disaster, or any major malfunctions it sees. Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) are two of the most important parameters of a disaster recovery or data protection plan.


These two objectives prove extremely effective in helping both you, and your IT Provider, understand where your company stands currently, and the work that needs to be completed in ensuring your company is meeting your expectations in backup and disaster recovery. Let’s explore each:

  1. Recovery Point Objective

RPO, or Recovery Point Objective, is focused on data and your company’s loss tolerance in relation to your data. RPO is determined by looking at the time between data backups and the amount of data that could be lost in between backups. Your RPO is important. Of course, every business owner wants to recover the most recent backup they possibly can, but having backups running constantly can be costly, depending on how much data you have.

With backups that run once a day, you’re only backing up data every 24 hours, so there’s potential to lose an entire day’s worth of data if there is a disaster. There are many different factors businesses need to consider here. As part of business continuity planning, you need to figure out how long you can afford to operate without that data before the business suffers.

  1. Recovery Time Objective

RTO, or Recovery Time Objective, is the target time you set for the recovery of your IT and business activities after a disaster has struck. The goal here is to calculate how quickly you need to recover, which can then dictate the type or preparations you need to implement and the overall budget you should assign to business continuity. In other words, the RTO is the answer to the question: “How much time did it take to recover after notification of business process disruption?“

The major difference between these two metrics is their purpose. RPO focuses just on data and your company’s overall resilience to the loss of it. It designates the variable amount of data that will not only be lost, but also re-entered during network downtime. RTO on the other hand is usually large scale, and looks at the business in its entirety. It designates the amount of “real time” that can pass before the disruption begins to seriously and unacceptably affect your normal business operations.


While they may be different, businesses should consider both when looking to develop an effective disaster recovery plan. These objectives will determine the best suited solutions for your business, whether they be on-premise, or cloud based solutions. These conversations usually involve looking into whether Business Continuity will be a useful solution for your organisation, as this helps reduce any form of interruption and downtime by A LOT!

If you are looking to improve or even set your RTO and RPO, get in touch with us through the contact form below to see how our solutions can help.