The launch of Aboriginal Peoples TV Network (APTN) more than 20 years ago represented a significant milestone for indigenous peoples across Canada. The network has become an important news, entertainment and educational programming resource for more than 10 million households.
APTN celebrates indigenous peoples’ cultures, shares their journeys and honors the wisdom of their elders. The network broadcasts more than 50 hours of programming each week in 23 languages. Programs include Nation to Nation, which follows the effect of politics on indigenous peoples, and InFocus, a live interactive call-in show covering top news stories that impact their way of life, health and employment.
Several IT systems support programming as well as business operations. Avatega is a cross-platform scheduling system enabling APTN to deliver programming in multiple time zones across Canada. Microsoft Dynamics is an enterprise resource planning system that supports APTN’s financial management and marketing. Microsoft SQL Server underpins both systems.
“Protecting these systems is extremely important to our organization,” said Steve Ens, IT Manager at APTN. “If we experience a ransomware attack or a natural disaster like a fire, we have to be able to restore these systems quickly so programming can continue.”
The challenge was Backup Exec. Ens said recovery could take hours or even days, putting programming and business operations at risk.
“That wasn’t the only challenge,” he said. “Backup Exec was difficult to use at times, and customer support felt like it was nonexistent unless you paid through the teeth. We knew there was an easier way to protect our critical systems.”
APTN considered several solutions including Veeam® Backup & Replication™.
“Choosing Veeam was a no-brainer because it’s the whole package,” Ens said. “When we deployed Microsoft Office 365 a few years later, adding Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 was a no-brainer too. Microsoft tells customers it’s their responsibility to protect their data, so Veeam protects it for us.”
Veeam protects all IT systems supporting programming and business operations so APTN can continue its invaluable work of celebrating indigenous peoples and helping the world understand their significance and value. Veeam also strengthens ransomware protection by fulfilling the 3-2-1-1-0 Rule (3 different copies of data on 2 different media with 1 copy offsite and 1 copy that is air-gapped, immutable or offline with 0 backup recovery errors). Moreover, Veeam provides total access and control of APTN’s Office 365 data.
“Our network is an advocate for indigenous peoples, so knowing Veeam is protecting the systems that support our programming and business operations removes the anxiety associated with disaster recovery (DR),” Ens said. “Veeam is the best solution out there.”
Veeam backs up and replicates 15 TB across 36 Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs) on-premises to a local server and off-premises to a DR site. Ens said recovery takes minutes, not hours or days like the legacy solution. His go-to recovery features are Instant VM Recovery® and Veeam Explorers™ for Microsoft SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint and Teams.
“Restore time is of the utmost importance, so we test our ability to restore regularly,” he said. “Instant VM Recovery is a fantastic way to spin up a server, and file-level recovery with Veeam Explorers is super-fast. When I attend Microsoft Ignite conferences, they remind you it’s your responsibility to protect Office 365 data, so I’m grateful we have Veeam. I’ve restored employee’s mailboxes several times, and it’s a relief knowing I have the ability to restore their SharePoint and Teams data too.”
In addition to backing up and replicating APTN’s VMs on-premises and offpremises, Veeam sends backup and replica copies to Storagepipe’s secure, private cloud through a built-in feature called Veeam Cloud Connect. Storagepipe is a global provider of comprehensive cloud, data protection and cybersecurity services. It’s also a Platinum Veeam Cloud & Service Provider (VCSP) partner.
“Veeam helps us follow the 3-2-1-1-0 Rule because our copies in Storagepipe’s cloud are air gapped,” Ens said. “Next we’re considering additional ransomware protection through immutable backups. We may use Veeam to create a hardened Linux repository that protects against deletion of data.”
Ens said if he has questions about creating a hardened Linux repository, he’ll immediately reach out to Veeam’s technical support team.
“Veeam provides customers with an easy way to open a case and chat online or on the phone,” he said. We have a great local team that supports us, and that’s a big advantage.”
Aboriginal Peoples TV Network is the world’s first indigenous broadcaster. The Canadian nonprofit network creates a window into the diverse mosaic of indigenous peoples with programming in English, French and a variety of native languages.
Aboriginal Peoples TV Network is one of a kind in North America, so protecting the IT systems that support programming and business operations is a top priority. IT systems must be recovered quickly in a disaster situation, so when recovery became a challenge, the network replaced legacy backup with Veeam.