Discussion on Recovery Time Objectives

There is a discussion thread in a LinkedIn group on when does the clock start on the Recover Time Objective. I am not going to use this blog post to repeat and provide support for the answer that I gave on the thread – although I think it is a good response – but, rather, I am going to use this as an opportunity to once again point out what I think is one of the biggest challenges we face as business continuity and disaster recovery professionals – the inconsistencies in jargon.

Recover Time Objective or RTO is a common and often used term in our field. And, in this discussion thread, intelligent and experienced practitioners are all arguing and posing very different opinions on the use and interpretation of this important measurement.

How the heck are we to expect our customers (even the internal planner has customers) to understand what we mean by terms we throw around when we can’t even agree amongst ourselves what it means?

Now I am not here to suggest we reach a common ground on these definitions, I am not sure that is possible in my lifetime, I just think it is important that we never assume our audience as the same understanding we do. Sometimes, I think it is better to use new labels, that our customer does not have a pre-conceived definition and define for them what it means.

I have seen many planners miss the mark in meeting customer expectations because they interpreted similar terms differently.

So, make sure you and your customer are all on the same page when it comes to these very common and oft used terms before you get too deep in your planning process.

Thank you for your input.