What is a Network disaster recovery plan?

A network disaster recovery plan is a set of policies to help you restore all your network operations after a network disaster. A network disaster can range from a performance degradation to a network outage. While network disasters are commonly caused by human errors, following are some other reasons that can lead to a disaster.

1. Network disaster due to Bandwidth hogs:

Organizations often invest a lot of money into acquiring large amounts of bandwidth that is shared by every user on the network. In such places, a single user consuming a lot of bandwidth can affect the entire network. This will lead to other users on the network experience a lag, causing a performance degradation.

Network disaster recovery plan to fix bandwidth hogs:

Bandwidth hogs in the network can be fixed by capping bandwidth consumption using access list configlets (ACLs) in Network Configuration Manager. Access list configlets allow the network admin to control each user's bandwidth consumption. The admin can restrict the bandwidth of certain users with a limit or choose to block their access to the network entirely.

2. Network disaster due to violation of industry standards:

The network industry has laid out certain industry standards like PCI, HIPAA, SOX and Cisco IOS standards. Each of these standards have their set of rules that must be complied to. Any violation of these rules will cause a vulnerability which can act as a gateway for network disasters.

Network disaster recovery plan to fix compliance violations:

Let's take the example of using TELNET. TELNET is a communication protocol that has been recommended against by the network industry due to security concerns. All communications that happen via TELNET is unencrypted which can lead to a data breach. Network Configuration Manager checks the status of TELNET with compliance checks. If the protocol is enabled, the admin is notified so that the violation can be remediated. To help the network admin fix the violation immediately, Network Configuration Manager allows each compliance rule to be associated with a remediation configlet. The admin can execute the remediation configlet whenever there is a violation and fix it instantly.

3. Network disaster due to faulty configuration changes:

Network infrastructures are prone to human errors since they are subject to manual changes frequently. Such errors can cause vulnerabilities in the network that can lead to a network disaster. Shutting down of interfaces is one such common error. Users shutting down an interface can render a group of devices inaccessible to everyone on the network. To prevent such instances from causing a network disaster, changes have to be monitored and moderated by network admins.

Network disaster recovery plan to fix faulty configuration changes:

Moderation of such changes can be achieved through the role-based access control and change notifications on Network Configuration Manager. Every user is assigned a role which will define the devices they can access. The users will also have to request the admin for configuration changes every time which will send the admin a notification. Once the changes are processed, the operator receives a notification of the status of the configuration upload.

Network Configuration Manager also implements a rollback mechanism in the change workflow. Changes, when found to disrupt the network performance, can be rolled back to the baseline configuration. The rollback mechanism helps you attain business continuity instantaneously.

4. Network disaster due to loss of configuration changes:

While network admins make changes to the network frequently, it is important that such changes are applied to the startup configuration of the device. If not, it will lead to a startup-running configuration conflict and the changes will be lost. In cases where these changes were mission-critical or security related, losses can lead to network disasters. Let's take the example of the admin creating policies to enable the routers to access the internet. If the admin doesn't write theses changes to the startup configuration of the device a power outage can lead to loss of these changes.

Network disaster recovery plan to prevent loss of configuration changes:

Network Configuration Manager gives the admin a look into all devices that have a startup-running conflict. These conflicts can be remediated by syncing the startup and running configuration of the devices. Network Configuration Manager simplifies this process by allowing the admin to sync configurations directly from the device inventory. The admin can choose to schedule configuration syncs to occur monthly, weekly, daily or just once.

5. Network disaster due to hardware failure:

A hardware failure can cause as much damage to the network as a misconfiguration. Regular checks of the hardware components are crucial to your network's functioning. End of sale, end of support and end of life are some of the factors that must be checked for frequently. Any device that is being used beyond their EOL/EOS has a higher risk of malfunctioning or failure.

How to recover the network in case of a hardware failure:

Network Configuration Manager can help in network recovery with a repository of device configuration backups. This repository is built as a result of scheduled, automated and manual backups. Whenever there is a network outage due to a hardware failure, the admin can replace the device and upload a configuration from the repository. This will quickly restore all the network functions.

A quick Network Disaster Recovery Plan Template:

An efficient network disaster recovery plan should have the following things in place to ensure an efficient recovery of all your network functions.
- Backup: Take regular backups so that you have a repository of trusted versions of device configurations.
- Role based access control: Assign user roles to make sure no unauthorized changes or configuration uploads are made to your network devices.
- Change rollback: Implement a rollback mechanism to a trusted version so that you can restore your network quickly when there is a misconfiguration.
- Compliance: Conduct regular compliance audits to ensure you adhere to industry standards and enhance your network's security.
- Configlets: Implement the use of configlets (executable configuration templates) to execute configuration tasks in bulk.