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Volume 32, Issue 3

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Wednesday, 22 June 2016 00:00

Be Wary of Being Arbitrary When Choosing RTOs

Written by  J. FRANK LADY III

Few business continuity (BC) tasks exceed the importance or visibility of determining the recovery time objective (RTO). Unfortunately, dysfunctional practices can creep into this process and cause "arbitrary" RTOs to be created. Three key examples of arbitrary RTOs include those which are "calculated," "open-ended," and "elongated." For an arbitrarily calculated RTO, a BC planner uses an application or software tool to compute it. Based on inputs (such as dependencies, relative criticality or risk, etc.), the tool determines that a particular RTO is required. These inputs are important considerations, but they do not entitle the planner to dictate an organization's RTO. During my military service, I often participated in decision briefings for senior leaders in which the presenter described courses of action for the commanding officer's approval. Never did anyone say, "General, you must choose this option because my spreadsheet says so." To make that statement would have insulted the leader's competence and