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RPO and RTO - definition and understanding the difference

Updated: Dec 5, 2020

Predicting a future is impossible, but preparing for for it and planning your organization's aftermath is getting easier. They are very similar but RTO & RPO are completely different elements and should be considered carefully when planning a business continuity plan.

What is RPO?

We can measure Recovery Point Objective (RPO) on how frequently we take backups. If disaster happen between the planned backups, can we afford to lose five minutes worth of data or a full data? RPO shows the amount of data that will be lost or need to be recovered after the disaster.

What is RTO?

In simple terms Recovery Time Object (RTO) is the amount of downtime any business or an organization can afford. In other words RTO can also be explained as how much time it will take to recover when a disaster strikes.

What is the difference between RPO & RTO?

While designing Disaster Recovery (DR) these two are the most important , they are quite similar but their objectives differ.


The RPO deals with the data loss and it helps in developing the strategy for the backup.

The RTO deals in the time to recover from the disaster and it helps in developing the strategy for the disaster recovery (DR).


RPOs are related with the amount of data that is lost when disaster strikes.

RTOs are related with the restoration of application and system.


To maintain the desired RTO involves is more than maintaining the desired RPO. The reason for this is that RTO involves the entire infrastructure whereas RPO is involved with data.

If you need my assistance, share us the details @techsurinder and I will get back to you.

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