A Simple Trick to Setting Credit Union Recovery Time Objectives (RTO)

by Robin Remines

In our recent blogs, we’ve been giving you  an inside look at questions that credit union leaders like yourself are bringing to us each week. One of the questions asked most often is about setting Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) that will enable you to meet your strategic goals.  If you’re inclined to say – everything needs to be up immediately then this post probably isn’t for you.  But if you want in on the secret of setting RTOs that are realistic, I have some great information for you!

In an earlier blog, we provided an educational piece on recovery time objectives and why they are important to your credit union disaster recovery plan.  Take a moment if you’d like to review the basics including some of the top processes considered important by you and your peers.  Now that you have a foundation to build on, we need to address the actual values you are assigning to your critical processes.

Getting out of your own way:

RTOs are usually measured by values (immediate, <4 hours, 1-3 days, a week, > week, etc.).  Keep in mind the values you are assigning are subjective to your own perception of the impact of a service disruption. (What did she just say?) In other words, the old saying that “this will hurt me more than it hurts you” is often applied when it comes to downtimes of certain processes. And if it hurts “me”, then it must be bad!

To prevent inflated RTO expectations based on an individual’s perception, the person should be challenged to “think up” or “think like the CEO”. It may sound simple but asking the end users to put on their CEO hat when assigning values often is enough to snap them out of department level thinking into strategic vision.  A scenario from a BIA workshop might go something like this:

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