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White Paper: Backu p vs . Busines s Continuity. Backu p vs . Busines s Continuity: Usin g R T O t o Bette r Pla n fo r Y ou r Business. E x ecuti v e Summa r y

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WhitePaper: Backup vs. Business Continuity


UsingRTOtoBetter PlanforYourBusiness


SMBs in general don’t have thesame ITbudgets and staffs as larger enterprises. Yetjust like larger organizations they need to protect their data—and makesure theycan get back to business rapidlyafter a disaster or other event that compro- misestheir data and systems.

In this white paper,we’ll discuss what’s at stake when it comes to not just pro- tecting, but also managing,your data (hint: your business). We’ll explain why it’s important to think in termsofbusiness continuityratherthansimply data backup. And we’ll look athow to calculatethe all-important RecoveryTime Objective(RTO) and Recovery PointObjective(RPO) so that youcan get what you need fromyour business continuityvendor.


Downtime is real, and it’s costly.Across all businesses, it’s astaggering $163,674 per hour,according to research by theAberdeenGroup.1 Ofcourse, the exact costdepended on companysize:smallcompanies lose approximately $8,581 per hour; mediumcompanies $215,638 per hour; and large enterprises a whopping

$686,250 for every hour ofdowntime.

The numbers speak for themselves:you need to plan for downtime.

Whatcauses downtime?Asit turnsout,businesses should be more wary of their own employees thanofnatural disasters.Although hurricanes, tornadoes, and the like do theirfairshareofdamage, researchshows that natural disasters account for just 10 percent ofdowntime.2 The leading culprits? Network outages (50 per- cent) and human error (45 percent).3 (SeeFigure1.)

So what’s even morefrighten- ing thana hurricane? When


45% 45%


you look at causeofdowntime by data volume alone, the No. 1culprit is human error,at58 percent. (SeeFigure2.)

So if you’ve been putting pro- tectingyour data offbecause youconsideryourself in asafe zone,you need to understand that it’s far more likely that a server will malfunction, or that someone will hit the delete key on an important document than anything Mother Nature could throwat you. No business any- where canafford to be compla- cent.

Network outages

Human error

Server failures

Figure1: Reasonsfordowntime

Figure 2: Downtime by data volume

“Downtime and Data Loss: How Much CanYouAfford?”AberdeenGroup, 2013.

“Enterprise Data and the Cost ofDowntime,” IndependentOracle User Group,July 2012.

“Enterprise Data and the Cost ofDowntime,” IndependentOracle User Group,July 2012.


WhitePaper: Backup vs. Business Continuity


Two-and-a-half quintillion bytes ofdata are generated daily.And 90 percent of the total data in existence was created within the last twoyears.5Anot-insignificant portion of this has been generated—and is stored—bysmall businesses. Consider all theservers, desktops, and laptops that thetypicalsmall business must man- age. Itall adds up to a lot ofdata to protect.

Yetnearly 75 percent ofSMBspossess no disaster recovery plan, and only 25 percentare“extremelyconfident”thattheycanrestoredatainthecaseofanevent that destroys their data.6And 50 percent ofSMBsback up less than 60 percent of their data.Theremaining 40 percent? No protection for it whatsoever.7

How much does this cost? Plenty.Thirty-five percent of SMBs lost as much as

$500,000 over the past threeyears due to downtime. Five percent lost up to

$1 million.And3 percent lost morethan $1 million.8 (SeeFigure3.)

< 1,000 1,000 to 10,000 > 10,000

Local or cloudbackup?Theanswerlies in between

Using local backup for business con- tinuity works well for quick restores. Becausethe data is rightthere, it’s fast and easy to restore back to its

original location and keepthe business humming. Butwhat happens if the power goes out? If the device fails? Or if it is stolen or destroyed in a natural or man-made disaster?You mightthink thecloud looks more attractive for all thesereasons. But cloud-only backup is risky because youcan’tcontrolthe bandwidth. Restores tend to be difficult and time-consuming.Afterall, the cloudcanfail, too.

The answer?Ahybrid-cloud solution. The way this works: your data is first copied and stored on a local device. That way,if something happens, you can do a fast and easy restorefrom that device. But thenyour data is also replicated in thecloud.So if anything happens to that device, you’ve got off- sitecloudcopiesof your data—without having to worry about movingcopiesof your data off-site physically.

Figure 3:Total cost ofdowntime

Source: IOUG,July 2012

So what happens when disaster strikes?Businessesmust scramble.Andtheclock is ticking while theyattemptto retrieve important data.According to IDC, it takes, on average, seven hours to resume normal operations after a data loss incident, with 18 percent ofITmanagerssaying that it takes11 to 24 hours, or even longer.9

TheAberdeenGroupcame up with comparable numbers when it compared best- in-class companies with average and “laggards” in the matterofdata backups.

Multiply even the average amount of time it takes to recoverfroma downtime event (5.18 hours) timesthe average costofdowntime, and you’ve got a whopping bill to pay by any standard.(SeeFigure4.)

Best in ClassAverage Laggard

Average amount of downtime per event in last 12 months

0.16 hrs.

1.49 hrs.

17.82 hrs.


Data Center

Criticalapplication availability




Figure 4: Downtime figures for SMBs in the case of data loss

Source:Aberdeen Group, May 2013

.“Enterprise Data and the Cost ofDowntime,” IndependentOracle User Group,July 2012.

.“SmallBusiness?LooktoBigData,”CurtFinch,TheInternationalCommunityforProjectManagers,Jan. 2014.

Symantec 2012 SMBDisaster PreparednessSurvey,2012.

Symantec 2011SMBDisaster PreparednessSurvey,2011.

“Enterprise Data and the Cost ofDowntime,” IndependentOracle User Group,July 2012.

“Wanted: Better Backup,” IDG Research Services,May 2012


WhitePaper: Backup vs. Business Continuity

Small wonder that 40 percent ofall businesses closetheir doors permanently after a disaster,according to theFederalEmergencyManagementAgency (FEMA).

Similar statistics fromtheU.S. SmallBusinessAdministration (SBA)indicate that morethan 90 percent ofbusinesses fail within twoyearsafterbeing struckby a disaster.

What are SMBsdoing to protect themselves?Sixty-one percent stillshiptapesoff to a storage facility or another office—a surprising number, considering that this

is atechnology that is morethanfour decades old, and the processes for saving data to tape,removing it to aremote location, and retrieving it in caserecovery is needed are extremely cumbersome.Thirteen percent don’t do anything atall. But, interestingly enough, 19 percent are already using some sortof cloud-based data backup.10 (SeeFigure5.)

Data backup versus business continuity: what’s the difference? Although overlapping, these terms represent uniquely different mindsets when it comes to data protection.

Data backup answers the questions: is my data safe? Can I get it back in case of a failure?

Business continuity, on the other hand, involves thinking about the business at a higher level, and asks: how quickly can I get my business operating again in case of system failure?

Thinking about data backup is a good first step. But in case of failure, you have to get that data back and restore it quickly enough so your business doesn’t suffer. For example, if your server dies—and remember, hardware failure is the No. 1 cause of lost data—you wouldn’t be able to quickly get back to work if you only had file-level backup. For you to start working again, your server would need to be replaced, all software re-installed, data re-installed and then the whole system would need to be configured with your settings and preferences. This process could take hours or even days—and in the meantime, your users can’t get their jobs done.

10. “ITTrends: Disaster Recovery,” InformationWeek, July 2013.


WhitePaper: Backup vs. Business Continuity

If you’ve planned for business continuity,however, you’vethoughtofall these things.You’ve thought in termsofRecoveryTime Objective(RTO), and Recovery PointObjective (RPO).

RTO (RecoveryTime Objective):The duration of time within which a business mustbe restoredafter a disaster or disruption to avoid unacceptable consequenc- es associated with a break in business continuity.

RPO (RecoveryPointObjective):Themaximumtolerable period of time in which data might be lost due to a disaster.

By calculatingyour desired RTO, you have determined themaximumtime that you can be without your data before your business gets into serioustrouble.Alterna- tively,by specifyingtheRPO, youknow how often you need to perform backups, because youknow how much data youcanafford to lose without damaging your business.You may have an RTOof a day,and an RPOofan hour.OryourRTOmight be measured in hours and yourRPOin minutes. It’s all up to you and what your business requires. But calculatingthese numbers will help you understand what typeofdata backup solutionyou need (SeeFigure6).

ImageVersusFile-OnlyBackupforBusiness Continuity

There are two well-known types of backup solutions: file- and im-

age-based.Afile-based backup does exactly what it sounds like: youchoose which files you want to back up, and those files are saved, to an on-site device or to thecloud, whichever type of solutionyou have chosen. Butonly the files you choose are saved. What if you forget to save a key file?

Image-based backup, on the other hand, captures an image of your data in its environment.Thusyou have exact replicationsofwhat is stored on aserver—includingthe operating

system, all configurations and settings, and your preferences. If aserver goes down, youcanrestore it in seconds

or minutes,ratherthanthe hours or days it would take to requisitiona new server, and install and configure the operating system.




Figure 6: The difference between RPO and RTO

Onceyou determine yourRPO andRTO, it’stime to calculate howmuch downtime and lost data will actually cost you.

Answerthefollowing questions:

How many employees would be affected if critical data were unavail- able?

What is the average wage of theaffected employee (per hour)?

What is the per-hour overhead costof theaffected employees?

Howmuchrevenuewouldbelostperhourasaresult oftheunavailability ofdata?

Simply add up the average per-hour wage, the per-hour overhead, and the per-hour revenue numbers and you have how mucha data loss will cost you.

Given that funding and budget constraintscan be thetopchallenge(43 percent) forabusiness toimplementabusinesscontinuitysolution,calculatingyourRTOwill giveyouthefinancialvalidationneededtojustifyitspurchaseandmaintenance.11

Calculating thereal costsassociated with data loss gives SMBs a better under- standingof therisksrelating to business failure.Andthinking about your business in theseterms puts your backup solution into perspective.The it-won’t-happen-to- me mindset simply doesn’t fly.

11. “Enterprise Data and the Cost ofDowntime,” IndependentOracle User Group,July 2012.


WhitePaper: Backupvs.BusinessContinuity

  • WhatToLookfor in aBusinessContinuityVendor
  • Whencomparingvendors for a backup solution,SMBs say that reliability(33 per- cent) and price (29 percent) topthe list offactors that drive theirchoices. But they shouldconsider other factors as well.
  • SuperiorRTOand RPO—Think in termsofbusiness continuityratherthansimply backup, and calculate how much downtime your business can endure and still survive(RTO) as well as how much data youcanafford to lose (RFO).Choose a vendor that can guarantee topRTOs and RPOs.
  • Hybrid cloud backup—As discussed above, taking a hybrid approach fixes the vulnerabilities that acloud-only or local-only possess.
  • Image-based backup—Make sure that the backup solutiontakes images ofall your data and systems, and doesn’t simply copy the files alone.
  • Instant local and off-site virtualization.
  • Screenshot backup verification. What good is a backup if it’s not working? Demand proof.
  • Imagessaved as VMDK for faster recoverytimes

Calculating your RTO will give you the finan- cial validation needed to justify [a business continuity] purchase.


Makingsureyour business cancontinue operating in caseof a disaster is just as essential to SMBsas it is to the largest enterprises. For that reason, business con- tinuity using data backup is an essential solution that SMBs should deploy.

Data backup solutions come in all different flavors. Cloud-based solutions are increasingly popular,but they provide only a partial answer. On-sitesolutions also have their weaknesses.

The answer is a hybrid cloud. Itprovides the best ofall worlds: youcanrecover data swiftlyfroma local device for themost commoncausesofdata loss, but you have all your data safelystored in thecloud for more extreme events in which the local device is destroyed or unavailable.

CalculatingRTO and RPOmadeeasywithDatto’sonlineRTO Calculator

Easy to access and easy to use (even if you’re not a Datto Partner). Go to


Datto Inc. is the preferred provider ofhybrid cloud-based backup, disaster re- covery(BDR) and Business Continuity solutions for the Channel, available in both physical and virtual platforms. Datto provides best-in-class technology and 24/7/365Tech Support to its 8,000 partners worldwide.

The Datto product line is comprisedofDatto SIRIS2,DattoALTOXL,Datto ALTO2,and Datto NAS.Its solutionsservethe needs ofbusiness ofevery size, with options rangingfrom 150GB to 100TB. Unique feature setsinclude instant local and off-site virtualization, Screenshot Backup Verification, Inverse Chain Technology,and End-to-EndEncryption.

Datto Partnerssellthesolutions to a wide rangeof verticalmarkets including: small business, healthcare, financial, education, banking, legal, manufacturing, retail, and municipal.