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Example Recovery Time Objective

Thursday 20th February 2020

Example for Recovery Time Objective (RTO)

In the event of crisis or disruption, the challenge is to get services back and running as quickly as possible. A Business Continuity Management system requires that the organisation sets a timed objective to get critical services recovered in as quickly as possible (i.e.a Recovery Time Objective).

To set an achievable and appropriate RTO, an analysis of the impacts of possible disruption needs to be carried out on each of its services, products or activities. This process is called the Business Impact Analysis (BIA).  

This BIA analysis will reveal the maximum time that the organiation feels it can survive without providing each of it's services, products or activities. The organisation should aim to get a minimum acceptable level of service up and running in a time shorter than the maximum time it considers allowable for disruption. These times will differ between organisations. For example, a company that relies on it's website to sell products, could only do without its website for a very short time whereas a company specialising in the sale of components could still carry on trading, even if there was a delay on deliveries from suppliers. 

The diagram below illustrates a possible Recovery Time Objective (RTO). The red curve is the 'life-cycle' of the disruptive event. You can see how the company have agreed a minimum level of service, and defined the point at which it must aim to get that delivered. 

In the case of company relying on a website, it might aim to get the site up and running in less than an hour. Whereas, the company with delayed deliveries could set a timescales of up to 7 days if it explained the situation to customers. 


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Adam Faiers - Director

Adam has been working on Quality and Environmental management systems for most of his career in small, medium and corporate organisations. A keen advocate of the ISO approach as a platform for improvement, Adam ensures that systems are practical and useful for Managers and Staff to use.

Following a number of years working on software development projects, Adam has diversified into Information Security and Business Continuity management. Keen to formalise his industry experience, he is currently undertaking a Diploma in Business Continuity Management at Buckingham University.

Adam has a PhD from Cranfield University and now supports the MSc Environmental Management programmes through the advisory panel and visiting lectures.

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