3 key terms to talk Business Continuity Plan


These are some terms I came across on my journey as a software engineer and having to read through numerous tender requirement spec documentations. So here’s me shining light into some of this technical and confusing acronyms. Learning the proper domain specific terms helps to improve your ability to communicate complex information with different stakeholders quickly and effectively.

English is just English. Why do you have to make it more chim (a hokkien term for ‘complicated’) than it already is?

To reply the quote above, it is necessary so we can be more articulate in our technical conversations. So lets dive in!

1. What is RTO vs RPO

RTO stands for Recovery Time Objective. The amount of time required to resume a service after an incident. It is measured in terms of how long your business can survive following a disaster before operations are restored to normal; implying that business can run as usual for RTO amount of time without its normal data and infrastructure available.

RPO stands for Recovery point Objective. The maximum tolerable period in which data might be lost. You want to ask yourself how much data can you afford to lose? This time frame ties in together with how frequent do you need to do your backup. If you can afford to lose a day’s work, then you set your backups to be every 8 hours. From that RTO, 24 hours backup would be too high a risk, while hourly backups can be too resource intensive.

There are numerous differences:

  • Difference in metric’s purpose - RTO sets the boundaries of your company, while RPO is focused solely on the issue of backup frequency. They are not directly related, and understanding its purpose will serve as a good guideline for disaster recovery negotiation and clarity.

  • Difference in cost allocation - it is a lot more costly to maintain a demanding RTO than RPO as RTO involves our entire business infrastructure to be restored in the event of an incident, not just data.

  • Difference in complexity - Since RTO involves the entire business, if the minimum restore time (RPO) is 2 hours, then RTO of 1 hour will never be met. Understanding this difference will be crucial for RTO negotiations.


Credit: msp360


2. What is HA

High availability refers to systems that are durable and likely to operate continuously without failure for a long time. That means it is fully tested and there are accommodations for failure in the form of redundant components. You often look for the weakest link in the system and check for failover provision and there’s also a backup process known as failover.

Reference: Techopedia

3. What is Finger printing

Technique that makes the name of file dependent on the content of a file. When File content changes, so does the file name.For content that are static or infrequently changed, it provides an easy way to tell whether the two versions of a file are identical, even across different servers or deployment dates. I was looking for fingerprinting technology and chanced upon this that i thought was interesting!

Reference: Finger Printing

Here’s just some simple technical terms that I’ve picked up at work (: