The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recently posted a joint alert with the FBI and Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) advising that Vice Society, an intrusion, exfiltration, and extortion hacking group that first appeared in the summer of 2021, is focusing more of its ransomware attacks on the education sector.
The alert says that the education sector—especially kindergarten through twelfth-grade institutions—has been a frequent target over the past several years.
And the problem is global, with the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) identifying education as one of the top five sectors targeted by cybersecurity attacks. With that in mind, when Andrew Daddow joined Hillbrook Anglican School—with 840 students and 175 employees in grades seven through 12—as director of information and communications technology (ICT), he immediately prioritized upgrading the school’s IT operational environment, processes, and systems.
First Requirement: Better Backup and Disaster Recovery
Daddow put improvements to Hillbrook’s disaster recovery and backup solution at the top of his list because he recognized that was where the school was most at risk. He also needed IT specialists with the skills required to implement a solution.
“At Hillbrook, we have a small team of IT generalists who need to cover A to Z. Backup expertise was needed to address the pressing need for business continuity,” said Daddow. But Daddow and Hillbrook needed to find the right partner with these specialized skills to ensure they had a resilient system.
Arcserve Partner Cymax Proposes All-In-One Solution
The school selected technology provider and Arcserve partner Cymax to design a solution for them that included offsite disaster recovery, mirroring Hillbrook’s secondary data center so the school could reduce its onsite infrastructure.
“We needed a solution that would instill confidence among the key stakeholders that Hillbrook would have the capability to fully recover its most valuable assets in the event of a disaster,” said Sean Dendle, managing director at Cymax.
Cymax has successfully partnered with Arcserve for over a decade, so it was a natural choice for the company to present Arcserve UDP as part of an all-in-one solution. Arcserve UDP delivers comprehensive data protection and cybersecurity for critical backup infrastructure, with orchestrated recovery that reduces recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs) to minutes and validates service-level agreements (SLAs) with Assured Recovery.
Cymax Stresses Immutability as a Requirement
“It was essential for the solution to have immutable storage and fail-safe reliability to meet Hillbrook’s recovery goals. We have a great track record with Arcserve and knew they would enable us to provide Hillbrook greater data resilience and peace of mind,” said Dendle.
Immutable storage is a crucial tool in the fight against ransomware. Once the school’s data is backed up, the file’s write-once-read-many-times format ensures it can’t be overwritten, altered, or deleted—even by someone with admin access. Arcserve safeguards backups from ransomware attacks on-premises with Arcserve OneXafe, a network-attached storage (NAS) appliance, and AWS Object Lock in the cloud.
Guaranteed Recovery With Arcserve
For Hillbrook, Cymax’s ability to guarantee the school’s recovery with Arcserve UDP and Arcserve OneXafe has been invaluable. “When you factor in the cost of managing network, licensing, data center, and labor, we know we are getting far better value with Cymax. It’s a no-brainer,” said Daddow.
“With Cymax, we get a managed service with a reliable product in Arcserve, validated SLAs with automated testing, and granular reporting—all of which translates to significant savings in day-to-day management hours,” said Daddow. “Most importantly, we have confidence that our assets are safe, secure, and accessible when we need them.”
First Recovery Test Deemed a Success
Hillbrook was a firsthand witness to the solution's success, with the engagement already exceeding its recovery goals following its first trial by recovering priority assets in the cloud within 15 minutes. “With Arcserve UDP, the Cymax team could quickly restore and perform effective disaster recovery with virtually no hindrance to operations. It was impressive to watch.”
Daddow added, “It is more important than ever for schools to build stronger defenses against a disaster, be it a flood, a fire, or a cyberattack. We are confident we have the best partnership with Cymax and the right solution in Arcserve to protect against data loss and survive anything that gets thrown our way.”
Protect Your Educational Institution
Whether you’re responsible for data protection for a single school or an entire district, Arcserve offers solutions that will fit your requirements and ensure you never need to worry about ransomware again.
To learn more about how you can protect your institution, talk to an expert Arcserve technology partner. Request a demo for Arcserve UDP and Arcserve OneXafe here and check out the Arcserve UDP 30-day free trial offer here.
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