Disaster Recovery Plans

Organizations cannot always avoid disasters, but with careful planning the effects of a disaster can be minimized. The objective of a disaster recovery plan is to minimize downtime and data loss.

The primary objective is to protect the organization in the event that all or part of its operations and/or computer services are rendered unusable. The plan minimizes the disruption of operations and ensures that some level of organizational stability and an orderly recovery after a disaster will prevail. Minimizing downtime and data loss is measured in terms of two concepts: the recovery time objective (RTO) and the recovery point objective (RPO).

The recovery time objective is the time within which a business process must be restored, after a major incident (MI) has occurred, in order to avoid unacceptable consequences associated with a break in business continuity. The recovery point objective (RPO) is the age of files that must be recovered from backup storage for normal operations to resume if a computer, system, or network goes down as a result of a MI. The RPO is expressed backwards in time (that is, into the past) starting from the instant at which the MI occurs, and can be specified in seconds, minutes, hours, or days. The recovery point objective (RPO) is thus the maximum acceptable amount of data loss measured in time. It is the age of the files or data in backup storage required to resume normal operations after the MI.