Around six years ago on a Wednesday morning, software professionals worldwide were startled by a tweet from GitLab stating that they had accidentally deleted their production data, causing their site to go offline. Unfortunately, at that point in time, the open-source code repository giant had no idea that it would take them another 36 hours to restore their systems only to learn that 5,000 projects and 700 new user accounts were affected while they were fixing the outage.

The importance of a well-defined backup and restore plan

Turns out, the days-long delay was due to the lack of a proper backup and restoration plan, which experts attribute to GitLab’s IT teams’ failure to test their backup and restore process on a regular basis.

This is just one of the numerous network disasters that’ve been making headlines ever since the advent of IT.

Network disasters can hit organizations ranging from large enterprises to small businesses. Organization size aside, what most of those disasters have in common is the lack of a well-defined and well-rehearsed backup and restore plan. Moreover, when we talk about network disasters, what immediately finds pertinence is network configuration backup, the most fundamental network backup protocol.

In the event of downtime or an outage, network configuration backups are what IT teams rely on to revive the network, which is why these backups are so fundamental. So we’ll use this World Backup Day as an annual reminder to understand how network configuration backup contributes to IT resilience and the industry best practices to attain it.

Building a comprehensive backup plan for diverse network configurations

In any given network, there can be thousands of devices with varying levels of criticality and dependency. Each runs on unique configuration settings, which also undergo constant modification for network performance and security updates. So we need a sophisticated backup approach that caters to varying backup needs, such as automated, scheduled, and manual backups.

Automated backups are triggered by changes, which works best for critical devices, capturing every configuration change. Scheduled backups help you maintain a consistent repository of backups, which you can use during emergencies. And manual backups help admins back up the changes they find necessary.

Storing sensitive information with confidence 

A recent survey says “2 out of 3 midsize businesses were affected by ransomware” attacks between 2020 and 2022. This underscores the security aspect in storing our data. So choose a backup storage solution that offers data storage encryption. This is an effective way to prevent hackers from breaching your network. Encrypted storage can be used to store important files like configuration data, user credentials, and security-related information.

However, enabling data encryption is only half the battle. Your storage security measures are fool-proof only when you monitor it in real time. A good storage monitoring tool alerts you when something goes wrong with your backup storage, ranging from hard disk failure to breach attempts.

Optimizing recovery with meticulous restoration 

Your restoration process should be as meticulous as your backup and storage process for your disaster recovery plan. A key prerequisite is maintaining a baseline configuration.

In case of a network incident, be it misconfiguration, loss of configuration, hardware failure, or ransomware attacks, the baseline version comes in handy to reignite the engines of your network—the devices—on top of which you can work on optimizing configurations later.

Prevention through practice: The key to effective disaster recovery

All these steps can only go so far in fool-proofing your backup and restoration plan, as the true measure of your disaster preparedness is the training that goes into the recovery process. The only way to know what aspects work well and where it can use improvement is by testing it. Based on these tests, you can implement improvements that increase the efficacy and efficiency of the plan.

The importance of effective configuration management in network backups

Finally, given the scale and complexity modern networks deal with, it’s impossible to achieve backup-storage-restore prowess without a powerful network backup solution. And given the nature of the topic we explored—backup for disaster recovery—it is essential to seek out solutions that don’t just back up and restore but curb the possibilities of network disasters in the first place. In other words, we need tools that help us manage configurations as a whole and monitor storage in real time to build a disaster-proof network.

ManageEngine Network Configuration Management has you covered, from configuration, change, and compliance management to network backup capabilities. ManageEngine OpManager offers you holistic, AI-powered network, server, and storage monitoring.