Jon Eaton, CIO at Ayers Saint Gross, has a focus on both IT and security. He stays involved with the organization’s backup and disaster recovery processes because he sees them as critical to cyber security and disaster recovery.
The organization was using tape backup and a separate solution to back up their data to the cloud. However, Mr. Eaton reports that “The administration of both solutions was extremely painful. Tape backups required lots of hands-on work and time to restore data. There was also the added expense of tapes onsite and in storage."
While the speed of cloud backups was better, the five-person team was spending 10-12 hours a week just making sure backups were running successfully. To make matters worse, restore times were poor. And even though version control was available, it was still tough to get the data if needing a point-in-time restore. Also, there was still the cost of building infrastructure to support cloud backups.
Recovery problems even impacted executives. Mr. Eaton was using laptop backup software, but during recoveries, the software often failed at about the 50% mark. The problem was so bad that Eaton’s team had to tell many employees not to expect files on their laptop hard drives to be backed up. Not long after, a dangerous cyber event occurred.
Soon after Mr. Eaton started at Ayers Saint Gross, ransomware infected the C-drives of 15 to 20 desktops. Mr. Eaton shared, “Because of this attack, it became clear that we needed to back up more of the desktop and documents on laptops and that the user couldn't be a local admin on the machine anymore.”
Since Ayers Saint Gross is an architectural firm, they must abide by the retention policies set forth by the State of Maryland and the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction) industry for construction documents. That means those documents must be available for the entire retention time for litigation and liability reasons. According to Mr. Eaton, “The data retention policies we have to comply with means we must have a good and reliable backup solution in place.”
Additionally, when Ayers Saint Gross began to use Microsoft 365, Mr. Eaton knew he’d need to find a backup solution to safeguard this key project collaboration data.