From the Battledawn Wiki (old info, but probably it still works the same):
Protection lasts for a certain amount of ticks depending on the speed of the server. For example, protection on a 1-tick server would last for 100 ticks, 2-tick server would last 200 ticks, 3-tick server would last 300 ticks, so on and so forth. The amount of protection is 100*[server speed ticks/hour].
If you should ever want to quit protection, click the break protection button in the top left corner of your screen. If you decide to do so, then you will receive a metal and oil production boost. The amount of workers used to produce metal and oil per tick is increased by 50%. The length of this bonus depends on how many protection ticks you have left multiplied by 3, e.g. breaking protection with 100 ticks of protection left gives you 300 ticks of this bonus.