How to Set Recovery Time Objectives to Fit Your Business Goals

Know what to do if you have a breach? If your data is compromised, how long will it take to get it back online? Four to eight hours? More than a day? Catastrophically long?

Every business is different so there is truly no one answer for all. It depends on your type of business and the plan you have in place to recover your data. Do you have one? 

If you don’t, then the time to start creating that plan is NOW! The first thing to do is set recovery time objectives (RTOs) by:

  • Listing all the applications you use to conduct business. Now look at that list from the perspective of how losing data within those applications would affect the system.
    • Prioritize them on your list.
    • Which are replaceable from other sources?
    • Which ones are simply not replaceable?

Doing this will allow you to see how a breach or even small interruption will affect your work productivity. Think about whether you will need different types of backups and where you need to locate them. 

Hint: The answer to where to store backups is NOT in your physical office if you have one.

  • Back up the applications that are critical to running your business first. Then decide how many backups are needed and how often those backups should be run. Constantly? Daily? Again, where will you locate those backups? 
  • Determine how much downtime the company can sustain? Be realistic. What would happen to your data if a natural disaster such as the recent back-to-back snowstorms, hurricanes or tornadoes hit your area? Can your business survive a long downtime? A day or two? Only an hour?  
  • Do your customers or clients have confidence in your security? Will they panic and go to a different company if their data is unavailable to them for more than a few hours? Or is even a few hours disastrous to them?
  • Does the responsibility of keeping those backups current fall to in-house staff or an outsourced company such as an MSP? Someone has to own that perilous task! Who is it?

Once you and your staff figure out the answers to these questions, you will have an outline for determining your recovery time objectives. And remember, we are here to help. Contact us for a free, no pressure consultation — virtual or in person.


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