Disaster recovery for dummies: jargon explained

Everything you need to know about disaster recovery

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Everyone loves an acronym right? Surely you know your RTOs from your SLAs, APIs from DHCPs, VPNs, FTPs, HTTPs… No?

Good news is you’re not alone - with more and more letters being thrown together in the tech world, staying on top of it can feel like a chore and we know for many of you, it’s just too much. But these incomprehensible terms do exist for a reason, and especially when it comes to disaster recovery, you need to be able to know the basics.

When putting together your DR (Disaster Recovery) plan, which is part of your BCP (Business Continuity Plan), you need to have clearly defined RTOs (Recovery Time Objectives) and RPOs (Recovery Point Objective), while also making sure you have an AWS (Alternate Workspace) if required…see what I mean?

So here’s our dummy-proof guide to all the key jargon you need to know – enter the world of acronyms!

BCP - Business Continuity Plan

Arguably the most important, your BCP should be a crucial part of your business’s wider operation plan – covering how you will remain operational in the event of a major disaster or event.

A good BCP details the required steps to be taken before, during, and after a critical event, in order to maintain consistent business function from an operational and financial standpoint.

RTO - Recovery Time Objective

In disaster recovery planning, RTO is the target amount of time to restore a business process after a disruption. Your RTO timer starts when a disaster hits, and doesn’t stop until all systems are back up and running.

Determining an effective but also feasible RTO is an important part of creating your business continuity plan, since any issues that fall beyond this time could result in unacceptable consequences.


RPO - Recovery Point Objective

The RPO is the amount of data loss that you deem tolerable in the instance a disaster recovery event is called. In other words, it measures the maximum time period in which recent data can be permanently lost.

For example, if the RPO is set to 4 hours, you would only expect to lose four hours or less of data in the event of a critical incident.

When designing your DR (remember this one – its disaster recovery) plan, the RPO must be taken in account, as a recent data backup would have to exist within that time frame.


HA - High Availability

High availability refers to a system or component that is continuously operational for a long length of time. It’s not to be confused with disaster recovery, as having highly available systems won’t prevent any downtime or disruption.

HA deals will day-to-day operations, while DR deals with critical incidents or failures that knock systems out for an extended length of time.


UPS - Uninterruptable Power Supply

UPS is an electrical battery backup that can provide backup power for a limited amount of time. A UPS is a short-term fix, and proper backup power must be provided through a diesel or natural gas generator.


BIA - Business Impact Analysis

A BIA is the process of collecting information to determine proper recovery strategies. The BIA can help you determine you RTOs and RPOs…all the dots are connecting now!



Mission-critical refers to the systems or applications that are essential to your business and is hopefully the most common term when it comes to disaster recovery lingo.

This could include ERP systems, email, and other business applications that are needed to allow your business to function fully.


Secondary Site / DR Site

In the context of disaster recovery, this is simply a secondary location for your critical information and applications. Typically, this exists as a data centre that’s in a separate geographic location from your primary data location.

Feel like you know your lingo now? Whether it comes naturally or not, understanding the basics of Disaster Recovery is critical for everyone at your business, as this is the knowledge that can determine if your business is able to survive a disastrous event.
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Read the original post from IT Weapons here: https://www.itweapons.com/disaster-recovery-lingo-blog/

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