4 IT Systems Everyone Overlooks for Disaster Recovery
Companies need to plan ahead for potential disasters. They can happen anytime and anywhere, and if you are not prepared, major damages or losses can ensue. Putting a disaster recovery plan into place and consistently off-siting everything will ensure that your data is protected and backed up in an off-site facility so that when a disaster occurs, you have one less thing to worry about.
You probably think about databases, application servers, and FTP servers when someone mentions backup solutions. However, there are other IT systems that frequently get missed, but still take a lot of time to rebuild after a disaster.
If you have a firewall there should always be a current backup of the system. Your NAT (Network Address Translation) statements, UTM (Unified Threat Management) rules, and policies can take hours to reconstruct. Keeping a backup of firewall software configurations can help you get back to work quicker, and avoid wasting valuable time or money on something that could have been easily prevented.
A sys admin might have configured a firewall in 1998, created a backup, and proceeded to make changes through 2015 without creating another backup. If there is a disaster and a restore is performed, all those changes since 1998 won’t be there, meaning they have to start all over again.
Router / Switches
When you build your VLAN (Virtual Local Area Networks), route statements, or policy access controls, a lot of the time backup configuration changes are left without being restored or saved. If you are working within a Cisco router or switch, you always have to write the configuration before it can get stored. Be sure to export your configuration file using TFTP (Trivial File Transfer Protocol).
This is a step that is being missed in many backup routines because most backup software will not take a backup of this locally.
If your APs (Access Points) do not have a method for backing up configurations, you need to make sure your settings are well documented. Record your passwords to get on to the network, your SSID, policy for when your wireless is available, and any other relevant details. This record will help to make sure that the recovery process runs smoothly and quickly should your network crash hard.
Make sure to password protect or encrypt this file. Do not leave sensitive information in hand written or physical form, as theft or loss will cancel your disaster preparations.
If some kind of disaster happens, such as your office burns down, you will need to know your voice account number for your carrier and which phone number was assigned to what person. While this might have been documented during initial setup, your dial plan has likely morphed and expanded over its lifetime. Make sure you keep copies of the voice port diagram: telephones, fax machines, PBX or key systems, and voice-enabled routers.
Additional VoIP settings to note for recovery include software versions as well as router, access server, and/or gateway configuration and network settings.
Having to reconstruct an entire phone system is a huge inconvenience to you, your staff, and your company, especially when scrambling to bring daily business operations back online. Keeping a list of this information backed up in your repository for easy access will allow you to worry about one less thing.
Plan For The Unexpected
Creating a plan that describes how your company will deal with potential disasters will help to bring cohesive communication throughout your company, minimize the effects of the disaster, and resume mission-critical functions quicker. Without one, you run the risk of not only suffering from interruption of service or loss of data, but also a severe financial impact.
After all the backups and planning be sure to set aside some time to test your backups. You must be able to achieve your recovery point objective (RPO) in a set recovery time objective (RTO). Being able to confidently say you can restore to a certain point of time and within a specific amount of time will undoubtedly allow you to sleep better at night.
Posted By: Peter Nguyen, Network Engineer