Online Backup Recovery Objectives

Most small businesses that buy Online Backup services don’t know the right questions to ask. However there are some things they should consider. Depending on the way you do business, you may want to use these in your Service Level Agreement or competitive marketing.

The Online Backup Guide for Service Providers is a complete 196-page guide on starting and operating an Online Backup Service – the latest revision of Rob Cosgrove’s industry defining RBS Book originally published in 1987. The entire book is being published here, chapter by chapter.


RTO Recovery Time Objective – What is the acceptable amount of time between the loss of data and its recovery? If it is too much data (because of bandwidth) to download from a service based out of the area, and the service is too far away to deliver a USB drive to the customer, you have an advantage by being close enough to your customer to make the RTO very short.

RPO Recovery Point Objective – The amount of data a business is willing to lose, in hours or days. If a business does not keep paper records of all transactions, it may never be able to recover data that is lost between backups. Can the staff enter a week’s worth of transactions from memory? The more often backups are done, the shorter the RPO can be.

Data Value – The monetary cost of recovering data if there is no backup. Include salaries and overhead for re-entering work from paper records; loss of business while those employees are recovering data; drops in productivity because of low morale; loss of business because customers simply clicked to another web site; cost of legal action brought by customers or vendors; loss of business because of bad PR; the cost of recovering lost business with discounts and sales calls. This is a good argument to use when marketing your service.

Downtime Cost – The cost of a business, or part of it, being unable to operate for a period of time. Likewise, this is a good argument for marketing.

Disaster Recovery Plan – A written and periodically reviewed plan that can be executed immediately and automatically in case a disaster disrupts all or part of a business. This plan also specifies the actions to be taken during the Recovery phase. This book includes a sample template for a Disaster Recovery Plan, in case you want to offer to develop one for your clients as a part of your service. Later in this series I will give you a Disaster Recovery Plan template that you can edit and customize for your customers.

Different types of data have their own RTOs, RPOs and Data Values. Therefore, it sometimes helps to separate the different data types into backup sets that can support the various objectives. RBackup fully supports multiple backup sets with different recovery objectives. Here’s a chart with some sample values.


Table of Sample Data Types and Recovery Objectives


Data Types RTO RPO DV
Web Servers/Online Store 10M 10M $350K
Accounting Systems 1H 2D $4.5K
CRM 4H 1D $25K
Email 2H 1D $40K
Spreadsheets 1H 1D $500
Presentations 15M 1D $2.5K
Letters 1H 2D $10K
Images 1H 2D $30K
Music 2D 4D $5K
Video 2D 4D $15K
Transaction Data 10M 1D $50K
Customer Database 30M 1D $300K
Application Files 6H 1D $3K
Active Directory 15M 2D $15K
System State 15M 2D $5K


Rob Cosgrove

Rob Cosgrove, CEO Remote Backup Systems

Rob Cosgrove is the President of Remote Backup Systems, founder of the Online Backup Industry, and a vocal advocate for maintaining the highest standards in Online Backup software. His latest book, the Online Backup Guide for Service Providers: How to Start and Operate an Online Backup Service, is available online now, on, and at bookstores.

Remote Backup Systems provides brandable, scalable software and solutions to MSPs and VARs enabling them to offer Online Backup Services.

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About The Author

Rob Cosgrove /

Rob Cosgrove is President of Remote Backup Systems, developers of the fully brandable RBackup Online Backup software platform, powering more than 9,500 Service Providers, MSPs and VARs wordwide since 1987. He is the founder of the Online Backup industry and author of several books, the most recent, "The Online Backup Guide for Service Providers", available at and bookstores.