The Business Challenge
According to a report by McKinsey Global Institute, Digital Transformation in
the engineering and construction (E&C) industry can increase productivity by
up to 15%, and reduce costs by up to 6%. Keeping up with industry changes,
Clough Group has embarked on its own digitization journey to improve
As an industry leader, Clough has implemented new technologies such as
drone-based 3D modelling to evaluate the topography of its construction sites,
as well as track progress of its projects. New options were also made available
for processes like quality tracking of equipment. For instance, construction
managers can now capture images of equipment and project sites, updating
their status accordingly in the project controls lifecycle. These new digital
innovations, coupled with the proliferation of smart devices, have amounted
to vast amounts of data, which were generated not only from application files,
but also different systems. From 1GB per day in the past, the team is looking at
10-20GB of data generated per day now. This is set to grow further as Clough
continues to innovate and create more data; as well as utilize data warehousing
to help clients improve their decision-making process.
In tandem with data growth, data storage is another important aspect of
the IT team’s focus. In the E&C industry, storing historical data and keeping
a comprehensive archive has been a continuous challenge. Companies
like Clough need to be able to provide designs and documentation for as
long as the contract or the agreement dictates. On average, Clough holds
itself responsible for keeping project data for 7 years. In the case of critical
infrastructure, records are sometimes even kept up to 30 years.
Jing Leong, Chief Integration and Security Officer, Clough, said: “The challenge
for us at Clough is making sure that we retain the data that we need for
contractual and legal obligations. We recognize the value of and see the need
for data classification, which can help us deal with potential litigation issues or
disputes on the construction projects we manage.”
Another key tenet of Clough’s Digital Transformation is its transition towards the
public cloud. As one of the early adopters in the industry, Clough realized the benefits
of the transition to cloud for business expansion and scalability. By moving away
from a physical data center to a more virtualized public cloud environment, Clough
was able to venture into new markets such as Mongolia, North America, Canada, and
the UK — markets where it does not have physical infrastructure. The public cloud
environment also enables easy scalability of workloads as projects ramp up.
Hussain Munir, Security Manager, Clough, said: “We believe that moving to the
public cloud will help Clough take its data management processes to the next
level. With the public cloud, we can easily expand our storage capacity and scale
up our projects. The initial costs of entry are low, and we will only pay for what
we store, even as our data footprint continues to grow.”
As part of the move to cloud, Clough’s legacy software applications that were
previously held in legacy data centers can now be consolidated in the cloud.
With the growing importance of data as an asset and in its bid to modernize
the business, Clough requires a data protection partner that can share the
same kind of future focus.
The Veeam Solution
Veeam’s quick backup, restores and snapshot features help Clough to meet its
data protection needs by enabling the Group to back up hundreds of virtual
servers, applications and databases in a day. The secure and efficient backups
afforded by Veeam gives Clough the confidence to back up the files on the
servers, as well as the databases and applications that live on the server.
Clough was also able to migrate its critical data and applications to the cloud with
the help of Veeam. After exiting from its previous managed service provider (MSP),
Veeam successfully helped Clough to back up its physical server and restore it in
a virtual environment. As Veeam’s backup is hardware and application agnostic, it
provides Clough with the flexibility to migrate across various systems with ease.
Clough primarily operates in a Windows environment and has recently decided
to migrate to Microsoft Azure to streamline its IT deployments. Veeam’s Instant
VM Recovery, a feature of Veeam Backup & Replication, which allowed Clough
to migrate a significant number of servers from across data centers, ensured
that the shift took place with minimal downtime. Apart from time savings, the
Instant VM Recovery feature also allowed for simultaneous instant recovery of
multiple VMs during the move, and from a legacy VMware environment to a
more modern VMware environment.
Hussain Munir, Security Manager, Clough, said: “We like that Veeam is very
agile, and we can choose any endpoint or environment we want. Even if we
decide to switch cloud providers like Azure, AWS or Google, we can restore
our backups to any environment, whether virtual or physical. Without being
restricted to a specific product, our disaster recovery plan is now more robust.”
As a project-based company, Clough is directly accountable to clients. It is
imperative that it maintains productivity and hit project milestones through
constant communication and collaboration. Office 365, Clough’s main collaboration
tool and repository of working files, is thus crucial for the company’s business
continuity as it allows employees working across different locations and
construction sites to communicate with each other, access resources, drawings,
and provide updates to clients within specified timelines. Veeam Backup for
Microsoft Office 365 eliminates Clough’s risk of losing access and control over
their Office 365 data by backing up frequently used applications such as Microsoft
Teams, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business.
The adoption of Teams in Clough has been particularly exponential, with
employees creating their own Teams for collaboration work such as calls and
sharing of documents. Version 5 of Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365,
which includes purpose-built backup and recovery for Microsoft Teams, has
been especially helpful for Clough. It provides the company with complete
control and protection over their Teams data including entire teams,
specific channels, and settings. Previously, Clough could not restore data
automatically, and had to undergo multiple steps to retrieve information. Now,
Clough can use Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Teams to achieve an efficient,
automated recovery experience.
The v11 update of Veeam Backup & Replication is also set to be a gamechanger
for Clough. The archive-to-cloud feature will allow Clough to
automatically move older archive data to cheaper storage: Archived Tier in
Azure. Given the large volume of archive data that Clough has, this feature is
expected to result in significant time and cost savings.
“Veeam’s fast upgrade and enhancement cycles give us confidence that the
company is continuously improving their product. With a focus on features in
the public cloud, Veeam’s products complement our move away from legacy
infrastructure. Our growth plans are in line with Veeam’s updates, and a large
number of feature updates have directly helped us with the deployments we’ve
been rolling out,” Jing Leong, Chief Integration and Security Officer, Clough, said.
- Improves operational efficiency from weeks to minutes
Clough can achieve better operational efficiency and minimize business
downtime as recovery time has been shortened from weeks to minutes.
- Manages IT deployments with a consolidated view
Veeam helped Clough to seamlessly migrate to Microsoft Azure. The
consolidation of IT deployments within Veeam’s platform allows the IT team
to manage systems with ease.
- Ensures legal compliance and peace of mind
With the security of Veeam protection for its archived data, Clough has
peace of mind to meet its legal and compliance needs for data retention.
- Enables the business to be agile and scalable in approaching new ventures
The agility afforded by Veeam’s cloud portability allows Clough to scale its
business quickly in new markets and achieve a robust data recovery plan.