We talked about how schools can win the war on ransomware in a recent post. But every educational institution—including those that provide support services for students and schools—needs to be sure it can recover quickly if any disaster strikes. Ascentis, a UK non-profit organization that helps students further their education by providing qualifications for use by schools and colleges and adult learners return to schooling as well as developing software to help students with learning difficulties, was in the same situation.
Prioritizing Business Continuity
Ascentis needed to ensure business continuity and protect its reputation for excellent service. The first step in that process was developing a robust disaster recovery plan that ensured Ascentis complied with regulations established by two bodies, QAA for Higher Education and Ofqual. With all of its systems—and therefore all of its processes from registering students for courses to awarding certificates—reliant on IT, any downtime due to an outage would hurt Ascentis’s reputation and prevent students from using its services.
“As a growing organization, our reputation is very important to us,” said Paul Carroll, Head of IT for Ascentis. “We’re dedicated to giving schools and colleges the best possible customer experience, to ensure that they, in turn, can help students to achieve their goals and ambitions.” Recognizing that ensuring business continuity demanded a better backup and disaster recovery solution, Ascentis turned to Arcserve technology partner Fantastic Cloud Service for help.
Pilot Data Backup Program Proves the Point
Fantastic Cloud Service set up a pilot program to show Ascentis how Arcserve UDP’s unified data protection could ensure its backup and recovery processes were faster and more efficient. “We ran Arcserve alongside our existing solution to compare functionality and performance, and benefits quickly became apparent, said Carroll. “Arcserve has much faster recovery times and gives us the flexibility to run disaster recovery simulations when we need to.”
Ascentis rolled out Arcserve UDP throughout the organization and today uses it to back up all of its servers, including VMware and SQL servers. Data is replicated overnight to the cloud where it’s deduplicated, taking up less storage space. And Ascentis’s servers can be quickly restored if a failure occurs, with files recovered in minutes, minimizing disruptions for users and customers.
Reliable, Set It and Forget It Data Backups
“With Arcserve, we can set it and forget it,” added Carroll. “We configured our backup and disaster recovery plans and now just let it run. The solution gives us a report every day so we can see if anything needs our attention or has failed—which very rarely happens.”
With all of Ascentis data—the backbone of its services—backed up and replicated, the organization can count on business continuity even if it does get hit by an outage. “Arcserve allows us to quickly spin up our entire IT environment elsewhere if it goes down at our HQ. Knowing we’ve got that level of protection means I have one less thing to worry about in the IT department,” said Carroll.
With Arcserve UDP combined with VMware Instant Clone, Ascentis can reduce disruptions by ensuring its test environment is identical to its production environment. “We can introduce changes to our live systems more quickly and reliably,” said Carroll. “The team can task changes quickly before bringing them into the live environment in minutes: it’s cut down the speed of disaster recovery from eight or nine hours to just a few minutes.”
Less IT Time, Lower Costs
With Arcserve UDP to ensure Ascentis’s business continuity, the IT team is now free to focus on operations and innovations. “We spend around five minutes a week checking Arcserve reports—that’s a huge time saving compared to traditional tape-based disaster recovery,” said Carroll
Arcserve’s powerful deduplication capabilities have also allowed Ascentis to reduce its cloud-hosted storage footprint from 2.8TB to 1.6TB, lowering its storage costs by about a third. And Arcserve UDP also ensures Ascentis complies with regulatory requirements. “With Arcserve, we can maintain our quality of service, which is vital to our reputation and future growth,” concluded Carroll.
Find An Arcserve Technology Partner
Like Fantastic Cloud Service, Arcserve technology partners are experts who can help you put the proper data protection, backup, and disaster recovery solution in place for your organization. To get started, find an Arcserve technology partner. Or see how easy Arcserve UDP makes it to protect your cloud, virtual, and physical systems with our no-obligation free trial.
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