With about 1,300 professional firefighters, 3,500 volunteers, and 300 administrative and technical personnel, the Service Départemental d’Incendie et de Secours in Pas-de-Calais is one of the largest paramedic, rescue, and fire brigade departments in France. Referred to as SDIS 62, the department’s mission is to provide public safety risk assessment and prevention, firefighting, environmental response, and emergency assistance.
Protecting Citizens Drives Data Protection and Compliance
With an average of one call coming in every 50 seconds—each of which includes crucial data—SDIS 62 began searching for a reliable cold data storage solution that ensured it would meet strict and numerous legal compliance requirements. Another key objective was to optimize their system’s recoverability and comply with ever-evolving social, technological, and regulatory changes.
With more than 1.4 million people, Pas-de-Calais is the fifth largest department in France. Efficiently responding to 70 plus calls per hour through the department’s switchboard—most related to serious situations where lives are at stake—requires competent response teams. It also requires reliable and resilient IT solutions that ensure its backed-up data is protected from data breaches and ransomware and, most important, can be recovered.
More Data, More Requirements
SDIS 62 uses 130 virtual servers and stores more than 30 terabytes of data. But the volume of data the department generates continues to proliferate. Here is why:
Emergency Call Recording Data
There can be up to five or six calls for each of the 130,000 emergencies the department deals with every year. To comply with regulations, each of those audio files was required to be stored for one year. That has changed, and the data storage requirement increased to 10 years. These files are critical as they may be used by law enforcement as part of an investigation, or SDIS may need them to protect its employees or settle insurance disputes over response times.
Emergency Services Communications
All emergency services communications are also recorded and stored by SDIS, adding another massive volume of audio files that must be backed up. These files are crucial as they allow internal teams to timestamp incidents and review what happened if needed.
SDIS’ county headquarters are monitored by video cameras that generate more data that needs to be stored and protected.
Video Conferences and Audio Meetings
The SDIS IT department is also responsible for storing all video conferences and telephone conversations so they can be used to produce meeting minutes and public tenders when needed. With remote workers now part of the picture due to the pandemic, the volume of this data has grown exponentially.
Because all these files include personal data, SDIS 62 had to request an exemption from GDPR and French data regulatory body CNIL (similar to the ICO in the UK) restrictions based on the department’s challenging circumstances. Clearly, SDIS 62 needed a reliable data storage solution for this rarely accessed information to ensure compliance with these legal requirements and strengthen their data resilience. Because the amount of generated data was multiplying, the solution also needed to scale out quickly and affordably.
SDIS Selects Arcserve OneXafe
The SDIS IT department decided to deploy Arcserve OneXafe 4412 because it met all of its requirements. OneXafe is perfect for secondary storage, offering converged, scale-out object-based data storage for physical and virtual environments.
OneXafe offers comprehensive data storage and protection in a single, easy-to-use solution that also integrates with Arcserve Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). OneXafe protects data by taking continuous immutable snapshots every 90 seconds. These snapshots are write-once read many times backups that can’t be altered, encrypted, overwritten, or deleted thanks to Arcserve’s patented distributed object store.
SDIS 62 invested in two OneXafe 4412 appliances deployed in separate computer rooms. The appliances are set up for two-way replication to add an extra layer of protection.
Benefits Beyond Data Protection
OneXafe’s data encryption feature ensures SDIS 62 meets its compliance requirements, providing data protection and privacy beyond basic storage. But OneXafe’s affordable total cost of ownership and scalability were two of the most important added benefits for SDIS.
“Storage has become an IT commodity that we tend to forget about. However, errors, incidents, and attacks affecting storage have a serious knock-on effect and can be extremely damaging, particularly when personal data is at stake. Therefore, it is essential to deploy a reliable and resilient solution to avoid losing years of work and critical data,” said Frédéric Van Camp, IS Director, SDIS 62.
SDIS also found that adding additional drives—from any brand or of any size—was easy, with the system automatically configuring and integrating new drives into the storage pool. With immutable, redundant snapshots on the two OneXafe appliances, the department's overall resilience was strengthened, as was its ability to respond to a ransomware attack quickly. And the SDIS IT team was able to complete the deployment quickly, getting it up and running in just a few hours. SDIS is now planning on adding a third OneXafe appliance to an offsite location for another added layer of data protection.
Find out how OneXafe can protect your data and ensure you can recover from any disaster. Contact us d for product details, or find an expert Arcserve Technology Partner who can help you choose the best data protection, backup, and disaster recovery solution for your needs.
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