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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States

WWW: acer.com

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April 1, 2024 | Andrew Kahl

Automating Business Continuity: How MSPs Can Simplify Network Backups

World Backup Day, celebrated on March 31, reminded us of the importance of proactively making copies of our data to protect it.

Certain words of wisdom passed down to us early in life become part of our DNA. One that sticks with me is, “Don’t spit into the wind.” It may sound like just a funny saying, but it’s common-sense good practice.

“Back up your data” is another important piece of advice that is more than simply good practice; it is a critical operational element for business continuity. World Backup Day, celebrated on March 31, reminded us of the importance of proactively making copies of our data to protect it.

However, I wonder why we still need a day to remind us to back things up. Backups should be part of our DNA – and shouldn’t be limited to data.

What Should You Back Up?

As an MSP, managing data backups for clients is important. Data backups protect against power outages, hardware failures, software issues, ransomware attacks, natural disasters, human error, and management failures.

Andrew Kahl of BackBox.

Andrew Kahl

However, having current backups of the configurations of your clients’ networks and security devices is equally important because network infrastructure allows data to flow through organizations. When networks go down, businesses can’t move forward. And the impact is costly, not just from a revenue, productivity, and compliance standpoint; brand integrity and customer trust suffer as well.

Trend data from Uptime Institute showed the total cost of a downtime incident has risen over the past five years, with over two-thirds of all outages costing over $100,000.

MSPs play a critical role in filling the gap for organizations that don’t have internal resources to manage backups and keep networks up and running. MSPs themselves can become overwhelmed by the diversity of their clients’ infrastructure. Whether you’re managing dozens or hundreds of client networks, backing up clients’ network infrastructure – which includes firewalls, routers, and switches from a variety of vendors – is extremely complex.

Protecting Network Infrastructure

Two traditional ways to backup network devices are to use a vendor tool or write your own scripts. Both are cumbersome.

When you’re dependent on each vendor’s tool for each asset, backup processes vary by vendor which slows down troubleshooting and restore processes during a crisis. Alternatively, you can write your own backup scripts, but you need someone in your organization with the skills to do that and maintain them. You also must validate that the backup was successful and restore quickly when a network failure happens.

A third way to backup network devices is to leverage automation to cut through the complexity. Automation allows the use of the same backup and restore process with all your clients and across multivendor environments. Backups can be scheduled following best practices.

A verification process ensures the backup was successful, or it alerts you so you can investigate and address it, rather than learning about it during a crisis. Restoring the device after an incident is as easy as a single click.

Automating the backup, validation, and restore process is important because not only are you dealing with the risk of a network outage and restoring it properly and quickly, but there is potential for human error. A simple misstep or failure to follow a process can take a long time to troubleshoot and address. Additionally, automating high-value repetitive tasks saves time and costs while improving the service you deliver to clients.

The fastest recourse to cyberattacks, power outages, hardware and software issues, or natural disasters is the ability to restore network devices from backups. With automation, network configuration backups can become part of your organization’s DNA so you can make the networks you’re paid to protect more resilient.

Turns out those early words of wisdom have merit after all. Not backing up your network configuration is akin to spitting into the wind. It’s dangerous, messy, and entirely avoidable.


Andrew Kahl is CEO of BackBox.

Image: iStock


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