4 ways to improve recovery point objectives

Mapping out a disaster recovery plan is no simple task, and at the enterprise level, the countless applications and databases that must be restored in an interruption scenario can pose a challenge to even the most experienced tech teams. For executive leaders, however, another issue comes into play – determining the value of a DR strategy and the investments therein. As business decision-makers, choices surrounding restorative hardware, software and support all factor into the ultimate question: Is this plan worth the amount of capital it demands?

For this reason, business leaders need as many practical, quantitative metrics as they can gather when provisioning their disaster recovery plans, especially if the continuity of their companies' operations rely primarily on their IT environments. Recovery point objectives are an essential measurement of the reliability and functionality of a DR strategy overall, and must be a top consideration for any organization looking to evaluate its continuity investments. Here are four ways that business leaders can shore up their RPOs and enjoy greater value for their DR dollar.

1. Establish restoration priorities: Not even the most advanced recovery platforms can ensure the complete restoration of an IT environment at the drop of a hat, and decision-makers will have to weigh their options when determining which digital assets are truly critical to their operations when a disaster strikes. With a well-considered lineup of restoration priorities in place, a company can create stronger RPOs and avoid any confusion when it comes time to bring systems back online. Working closely with a service provider to establish these parameters can help leaders make optimal choices. 

2. Reduce data duplicationEvery byte of data makes a difference when it comes to refining RPOs, and with so many servers underpinning the average IT infrastructure, unwanted duplicate apps and information can be a wasteful burden when executing a DR plan. Companies must proactively identify and eliminate these unnecessary replicas and ensure that their targeted assets are as lightweight as possible for quick recovery. According to Business 2 Community contributor Doug Hanley, the following definition offers insight into the importance of efficiency when developing RPOs.

"The maximum amount of data that may be lost when service is restored after an interruption. The RPO is expressed as a length of time before the failure. For example, an RPO of one day may be supported by daily backups, and up to 24 hours of data may be lost."

3. Procure plenty of archives: A substantial portion of an enterprise's application and data sets are not vital to the core functionality of its teams and stakeholders, meaning these assets can be put on hold when recovery is underway. However, less-critical systems must also be made accessible within a reasonable timeframe and given a dedicated set of RPOs if a business wants to be fully prepared for an interruption scenario. Organizations must orchestrate archive backups that deliver accurate, timely restoration without placing unwanted burdens on budgets or IT teams. 

4. Remember recovery time objectives: RPOs go hand in hand with recovery time objectives, which offer a broader snapshot of an organization's restorative capabilities. According to InfoSec Island, these two metrics must be considered in tandem when developing a DR strategy, as RTOs take into account other factors that play into the total recovery picture. The source compared the two in the following definition:

"RTO has a broader purpose because it sets the boundaries for your whole business continuity management, while RPO is focused solely on the issue of backup frequency."

With these considerations in mind, business leaders should be able to shore up their RPOs while developing a more coordinated, effective DR strategy overall.