How service providers help protect remote worker data

With everything that’s been happening in the world over the last few months, my company had to make some radical changes in our IT department. We’ve recently shifted to remote work ~100% of the time, which forced my group to react quickly to new challenges. Protecting user and company data on remote workstations has become a priority.

We recently deployed workstations or laptops to ALL employees. Even those who did not have equipment before. With so many users new to full-time remote work and some new to having company issued equipment, the IT department wanted to make sure our data was protected and users could recover from some expected hiccups with our new setup.

Protection from common scenarios included:

  • Accidental deletion of files and folders — Resolved with self-service restore
  • Hardware failure — Resolved with self-service full system restore
  • Ransomware/malware attacks — Resolved with self-service full system restore

Does the above situation sound painfully familiar? Many organizations weren’t planning for these changes and don’t have the hardware and licensing on standby for an immediate allocation adjusting to an impromptu new world.

There is also the uncertainty in making long-term commitments, because who knows how long the current scenario will last.

That’s where enlisting the help of a Veeam Cloud & Service Provider (VCSP) can help alleviate some common challenges associated with protecting remote worker data in times like these.

Some of these common challenges include the need to have:

  • Full system protection of remote workstations/laptops
  • Backups sent to a centralized and internet-accessible location
  • Pay-as-you-go consumption model
  • Centrally-managed new agents, jobs, and quotas
  • Data securely transferred to cloud storage and backups must be encrypted at rest.

How VCSPs can help

I reached out to a technical contact (let’s call him Josh) at one of our Gold Level VCSP partners to see if he would be willing to share with me how they go about providing a solution for the common challenges listed above.

Josh agreed and provided a trial that suited this scenario and helped me configure things. Josh holds both the Veeam Certified Engineer (VMCE) and the Veeam Certified Architect (VMCA) certifications, which is a requirement for our Gold and Platinum VCSP partners. This ensures that he holds the qualifications necessary to provide this level of professional expertise.

I was provided with all the tools necessary, including a(n):

  • Cloud Connect account and a Cloud Connect Backup Repository — The Cloud Connect Repository will store my user’s backups.
  • URL to access their Veeam Service Provider Console — The Veeam Service Provider Console will allow us to centrally configure and monitor all our remote workstation backups.

Workstation protection using Veeam Service Provider Console

We worked together to set up our new policies using the following steps:

  1. We downloaded the first “Management Agent” from the Veeam Service Provider Console. It is through this “Management Agent” that Veeam Service Provider Console will communicate with workstations in my organization. This will allow the control and monitoring of remote data protection.
  2. We went here for instructions on how to discover other systems in my network and install the Veeam Backup agent. I went here to create the backup policies that I could apply.

Not bad for a half-days’ work! Backup policies were configured and applied. Each user had a different workstation setup and protection requirements, so they have custom jobs. Backups worked too!

The advantage of data protection policies

We worked through creating an optimized backup policy. Josh then walked me through a wizard and pushed the policy below to all our workstations.

Within the policy, we chose to:

  1. Back up the “Entire Computer”
    • This will allow us to restore from scratch as well as allow for file-level restores both by our IT admins *and* users
  2. Send our backups directly to the service provider’s secure Cloud Backup Repository
    • This is built into the Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows
    • This protects our backup data traveling across the internet
    • Backup data resides in the service provider’s storage infrastructure and data center
  3. Keep seven (7) restore points of daily backups
    • This met our data protection goals for remote workers
  4. Encrypt backup files stored at the service provider’s datacenter
    • This protects our organization from unwarranted access
  5. Allow remote workstations have their own administrative control on the backup agent UI
    • Allows our users to restore their own files

Why this help means so much in times like these

For this scenario and so many others, service providers (BaaS, DRaaS, MSPs) make a difference for IT teams to “sink or swim.” Expertise with various hardware and software platforms, engineers (and others) who provide a special touch, and a flexibility to make your problems “their” problems are just a few of the reasons organizations build these types of relationships.

Many businesses, big or small, are faced with these immediate IT challenges, but don’t have the equipment and licensing available to create this new internal IT “service.” Even if they had extra equipment, connectivity to internal resources can be a challenge; most VPNs can only tolerate so much traffic.

With modern collaboration tools (O365), there is still the need to protect from hardware failure and users saving data to the “wrong place.” Since many users are remote, a secure software is needed to prevent access to sensitive user backup data either in transmission or storage. Sometimes it seems like there is always something in our way!

Of course, not every service provider is built the same

There is great value in choice when it comes to cost and quality. Knowledge and level of service are such important factors when choosing IT partners. Not all service providers are built the same and it is important to shop for a solution that fits your needs.

What if we needed a different set of data protection requirements or had a scenario where limited data was sent to OneDrive? We could have had licenses available but needed assistance deploying the initial operation of our own workstation data protection platform.

What if we only need to back up Office 365 data?

A quality service provider will act as a trusted advisor in helping you find a custom, Veeam-powered solution that is right for your business.

Getting the help you need is easy

Veeam partners with a vast network of cloud and managed service providers who deliver intelligently designed offerings to protect your businesses vital data. Check out our Veeam-powered BaaS and DRaaS page to learn more and to find a VCSP partner that can guide you to the right solution to fit your needs.

Special thanks to Josh Archer and Element-4 who provided a trial of their services for this blog post.

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