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What is a Recovery Point Objective (RPO)?

What is a Recovery Point Objective (RPO)?

RPO Basics

A Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is a metric used to determine how often data backups should run, and to evaluate what services and solutions match your business needs. The RPO is determined by understanding how much data loss your business can tolerate.

Some businesses and organizations may have mandated RPOs due to data privacy and compliance requirements, such as the financial and legal industries.

Why is this important? Data is dynamic and constantly changing over time, while backups only capture data at a specific point in time. The length of time between each scheduled backup is known as the backup interval. The wider the interval, the higher the likelihood that your data will change during that time, and the more risk you take as that data remains without a backup until the next backup. In the event of a data disaster, a higher backup frequency enables more recovery points to restore from and shrinks the interval between backups so that data has a better chance of being captured.  Your RPO defines the maximum allowable amount of lost data measured in time from a failure occurrence to the last valid backup.

Meeting Your RPO

For example, an e-commerce business may conduct around-the-clock online transactions. They evaluate their systems and business model and determine that losing more than 15 minutes worth of data would be extremely detrimental to their operations, customer service, revenue, and reputation. They decide that their RPO and backup interval should never exceed 15 minutes. They then choose a solution that is capable of running a backup schedule at 15 minute intervals, such as at every quarter hour on the hour (0:00, 0:15, 0:30, and 0:45).

If a failure occurs, with successful backups every 15 minutes, they would always be able to recover without major threat to their business continuity. Here are two examples on how it would play out:

  • If they experienced a system failure at 0:03, they’d only lose 3 minutes worth of data.
  • If failure occurred at 0:52, they’d lose 7 minutes of data.
  • For both scenarios, since the time between the last backup before failure and the data disruption are well below the 15 minute RPO (3 and 7 minutes respectively), both losses are survivable for the business.

Failing to Meet Your RPO

Conversely, if a business can only withstand an hour’s worth of data loss, yet has backups running every two hours, that business is not meeting their RPO and is at risk of losing critical data. The risk escalates the further in time the failure occurs from the last backup.

For example, if they run their backups every odd hour on the hour (1:00; 3:00; 5:00, et cetera):

  • A failure at 1:40 is less damaging than one that occurs at 4:55.
  • The first incurs 40 minutes of data loss, which is acceptable according to their RPO of 1 hour.
  • The second incident incurs 1 hour 55 minutes of data loss, which definitely does not meet their RPO and may seriously damage their business.

For this business, without the appropriate 1 hour backup interval, meeting their RPO of 1 hour is a game of chance and does not meet their business needs. If a data disaster occurs such as a ransomware attack, user error, or natural disaster, they stand to suffer damage and potentially opening themselves up to liability, loss of business, and compliance risk.

RPO Services and Solutions

There are a range of services and solutions that enable backup intervals that support different RPOs. The chosen RPO can affect the price, configuration, and IT resources required. Working with a flexible, customer-centric backup and disaster recovery service provider can help you to determine the most cost-effective and responsive solution for your business.


Backup as a Service (BaaS)

Backup as a Service (BaaS) offers fully configurable online backup and recovery processes, supported by Thrive. These services are scaled for your organization so that you get the control you need with the support that you want.

Backups can be performed automatically according to flexible backup schedules, allowing for businesses of all sizes and needs to meet their specific RPOs. Communication is initiated by your systems, and your information is encrypted using AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), before being pushed via a secure SSL/TLS connection to Thrive’s datacenters. All of the backups are also incremental and only move new or changed data.

Thrive proactively monitors the data centers, operations, and customer data transfers to ensure optimal backup and recovery.


Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) enables your company to replicate data and deploy a Disaster Recovery (DR) environment without needing to construct a second physical data center. DRaaS replication ensures that your production site and DR site are in sync, allowing you to meet demanding Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs).


What About Restoring Backups?

BaaS allows both local and cloud restores from your backups based on your RPOs and the stored backup snapshots.  DRaaS extends recovery capabilities to allow for full recovery directly into cloud infrastructure in just minutes, giving your organization the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) that you need for true business continuity.

Thrive to the Rescue

Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Experts

Thrive is a trusted global provider of comprehensive cloud, data protection and security services.

Since 2001, Thrive has provided these robust and secure managed cloud and disaster recovery solutions from a scalable multi-tenant infrastructure, supported by our first-class in-house technical team. Thrive delivers highly flexible and responsive solutions with outstanding value and service, using state-of-the-art technology to offer ultimate protection and peace of mind.

We are driven to be your trusted partner and to ensure that we deliver a Thrive Experience that meets your business requirements with the reliability, scalability, and support that your business demands.
Contact us today to learn more about how Thrive can help you meet your operational demands while protecting and recovering your most valuable asset – your data.