How One College Increased Its Data Protections While Cutting Data Backup Costs By 50%

MARCH 23RD, 2022

More SonicWall educational customers—from K-12 to colleges—are targeted by malware than any other industry, according to the company’s 2022 Cyber Threat Report. That’s one place education would rather not be a leader. The same report says nearly a quarter of its education customers were targeted by malware in any given month. Adding to the pain, education was the leading industry in cryptojacking attacks—hijacking computers to mine cryptocurrencies without the users’ knowledge.

Furness College is home to 350 faculty and staff and more than 4,000 students who access full-time, part-time, and remote learning courses. The college’s IT team was fully aware of these statistics and made safeguarding staff and student files and information against ransomware attacks, hardware issues, accidental deletion, or corruption a top priority.

“We can’t expect all our students and staff to be IT-savvy, so it’s our responsibility to ensure that their work is safeguarded against the risk of data loss,” said Darren Stevens, IT Manager at Furness College. “If work is lost, it could impact the college’s reputation, students’ grades, and potentially their career choice going forward.”

Finding an Effective Backup Solution

The college’s legacy backup system was quickly approaching the end of life, so the IT team set about finding the best solution for their specific needs. “We weren’t completely happy with the functionality and performance of our existing solution,” said Stevens. “The backup window was stretching into the morning, it was time-consuming to find and restore individual files and emails, and with all backups held in the cloud, it took too long to recover data.”

Arcserve Appliances Answer the Call

After researching its options, the Furness IT team selected Arcserve appliances for two essential reasons:

  • • Arcserve appliances include built-in data protection and ransomware prevention with Sophos Intercept X Advanced, securing on-premises, cloud, and SaaS-based backups from the broadest range of threats with signature-based and signatureless malware detection, a deep learning neural network, anti-exploit technology, CryptoGuard anti-ransomware, and WipeGuard technologies.

• The Arcserve solution could reduce the college’s backup costs compared to its old solution.

“There was a spike in ransomware attacks on colleges and universities during the lockdown,” said Daniel Walker, Network Infrastructure Lead at Furness College. “We had briefings about the increased risk from JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee)—which provides our academic network—so we were keen to add an extra layer of protection with the Arcserve solution.”

Furness College has an Arcserve appliance at its two campuses, each backing up a different subset of servers. A total of 32 servers and nearly 600TB of recoverable data are now protected by Arcserve, including staff and student work ranging from programming projects to CAD data and more.

Automated Testing, Fast Recovery

Furness College quickly found that the Arcserve appliances’ automated testing feature—Arcserve Assured Recovery—gave them confidence in their ability to completely recover and restore its data without impacting the data’s integrity.

The Arcserve appliance uses snapshots—instant captures of the college’s data—for incremental backups that let the IT team recover files or even a complete server in minutes. “We use the solution regularly for recovering individual student and staff files and emails that have been accidentally deleted or overwritten, without having to roll back the entire server,” said Walker.

Benefits Beyond Data Protection and Budget

The Furness College IT team says the Arcserve solution is straightforward to manage and run on a day-to-day basis, freeing up the team to better support its users. The college also realized the benefits that led it to choose Arcserve in the first place, reducing its backup costs by 50 percent while adding sophisticated data protections with Sophos Intercept X Advanced.

With the Arcserve solution, the college also:

  • • Reduced the Exchange backup window from up to eight hours to 7.5 minutes, including automated backup verification
  • • Slashed its backup storage requirements—reducing nearly 600TB of recoverable data down to less than 30TB—thanks to Arcserve’s deduplication and compression capabilities
  • • Certified its Cyber Essentials compliance with Assured Recovery

    “With the Arcserve appliances, we’ve reduced costs and mitigated the risk of a ransomware attack,” said Stevens. “We can protect business continuity and the college’s reputation.”

Get Educated About Data Protection and Backups

Ready to learn how you can do more to protect your educational institutions’ data and ensure fast recovery? Find an expert Arcserve technology partner, or contact us to get all the details.