Kent County Case Study
Complex Local Government Relies on EVault Fast Deployment to Secure Critical and Sensitive Data
The local government of Kent County, Maryland, provides residents and visitors a range of services from business licensing and zoning, libraries and recreation, to law enforcement and public safety.
The data required to operate and document the day-to-day business of the county is mission critical as well as highly sensitive, in many cases. If any amount of data were to be compromised, it could result in severe consequences. Information Technology Director Scott Boone was given the task of developing new standards and adopting new technology for the transfer, security and backup of the interdepartmental data for which he is responsible.
Preventing data loss and protecting the integrity of government information were high priorities for the Kent County Government at the beginning of 2009. In the past, Kent County had experienced a data loss that took four days to recover without 100 percent restoration. They understood the importance of securing vital data and the high costs involved in the loss of data.
Updating IT infrastructure and replacing the low-bandwidth legacy LAN lines with high- speed fiber optics would eventually be part of the project. However, the data protection and recovery system would need to be put into place immediately. They would need to choose the right technology that could quickly and securely back up and restore information over the existing low-bandwidth lines and be deployed in a very short amount of time.
Simultaneously, new guidelines for data security, storage, retention and recovery would be established, and the capabilities of the technology would help inform the direction of those decisions and update the official Kent County policy for data handling. The new data backup system would need to:
Operate over existing LAN infrastructure with simple migration to new fiber optic network
Replicate and encrypt data to a secure offsite location
Reduce IT costs by centralizing management
Kent County researched and tested several solutions before selecting and deploying cloud technology from EVault, a Seagate Company. The existing process of manually backing up data at each of the 10 server locations was time-consuming and presented undue opportunity for errors. The IT team even worked with combining technologies in order to meet all the requirements for their protection, backup and restore system.
The slow MPLS network presented a particular challenge as large amounts of data could not be transmitted over the lines quickly enough for complete system data backup without choking the network. It would take several months for the complete fiber optic system to be installed. Encryption is vital during data transfer, and that seemed to be a missing component in some of the products Kent County evaluated. Management of data protection was also a major concern. The county could not afford to have dedicated resources running data backup with only a small IT staff responsible for all the technology systems of five municipalities.
Kent County looked at a number of solutions for data security and recovery, and only the cloud technology from EVault was able to efficiently and cost-effectively meet all their requirements. As an all-in-one backup and recovery appliance, EVault Plug-n-Protect was quickly deployed to secure Kent County’s data. The preconfigured appliance with EVault software, hardware and built-in storage offered comprehensive data protection that the IT team could launch in a matter of days.
This was the complete solution Kent County was looking for, including the unique capability of efficiently operating over a low-bandwidth network by combining EVault’s DeltaPro deduplication functionality with compression, bandwidth throttling and encryption, all on a single appliance.
“Having the system efficiently perform daily automated backups over our current slow LAN connection was a key benefit for us. In fact, DeltaPro backing up only changes to the data was the main feature I was looking for initially,” said Boone. “When our new fiber optic network is complete, we will be able to switch over to it very easily, and EVault will still require very little bandwidth to protect our data.”
The software suite, built-in to the EVault Plug-n-Protect appliance, accelerates backup and recovery while maintaining a small data footprint, and it also enables centralized management and encryption for added security during data transfer; each a valuable feature that met requirements set by Kent County.
They also needed offsite protection for their backup data so that, in the event of a site outage, they could still recover their data, and their critical operations could be quickly restored for first responders, law enforcement and public safety. EVault Replication met that need so that in the event of total failure, the system can be switched over in minutes. In addition, EVault System Restore (bare-metal technology) protects a number of their servers, enabling quick recovery of any system that becomes completely unusable after a failure.
Easy management and cost savings are two important aspects of the EVault Plug-n- Protect solution that have exceeded Boone’s expectations. All-in-one procurement, simple deployment and centralized control work together to offer the lowest total cost of ownership available.
“EVault Central Control has greatly simplified IT management and helped us cut costs significantly. It’s an easy interface, and all the data and servers can be monitored and maintained remotely without the need to have multiple people in multiple locations. This enables us to direct IT resources in other areas and reduced our IT staff,” said Boone. When asked about the service offered by the EVault support team, Boone added, “EVault did such a great job setting up the system, and it’s so easy to manage, I’ve never had a reason to contact support.”
The EVault solution has also helped in the planning and development of an updated Kent County data security, retention and recovery policy, by offering a full set of capabilities for handling and securing data backup and recovery. The features integrated into EVault technology for automated backup and retention, centralized management, offsite replication and quick recovery are being built into the policy and standard operating procedures for the Kent County information technology department.
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