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Recovery Point Objective

A “recovery point objective” or “RPO”, is defined by business continuity planning.

It is the maximum tolerable period in which data might be lost from an IT service due to a major incident.

The RPO gives systems designers a limit to work to. For instance, if the RPO is set to 4 hours, then in practice, offsite mirrored backups must be continuously maintained - a daily offsite backup on tape will not suffice.

Care must be taken to avoid two common mistakes around the use and definition of RPO.
  1. Firstly, BC Staff use business impact analysis to determine RPO for each service- RPO is NOT determined by the extant backup regime.
  2. Secondly, when any level of preparation of offsite data is required, rather than at the time the backups are offsited - the period during which data is lost very often starts near the time of the beginning of the work to prepare backups which are eventually offsited.