The business challenges
Cyberattacks on nonprofit organizations — and housing associations
in particular — are increasing in sophistication and scale. However, 80%
of nonprofits don’t have a policy in place to address cyberattacks, and 24%
of housing associations suffered at least one attack between 2020 and 2021.
Housing associations are targets for several reasons. They hold residents’
personal data, they’re connected to public-sector organizations that
maintain financial data, and they operate within limited budgets that often
can’t fund business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) strategies.
A housing association in the south of England didn’t let a limited budget get
in the way. When the IT team grew concerned that legacy backup might not
protect against a cyberattack, the team contacted Covenco Recovery Services,
an established IT company that provides Backup as a Service (BaaS) and Disaster
Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) to UK companies and nonprofit organizations.
“We told them when it comes to a cyberattack, you should always plan for
the worst,” said Gurdip Sohal, Sales Director at Covenco Recovery Services.
“We also explained that attackers will have less to leverage if you’ve been
backing up to our cloud and supplement that by using our Tape-out Service
to provide a complete air-gapped offline copy of your data.”
Covenco recommended Veeam® Backup & Replication™ for proactive data
protection. A feature called Veeam Cloud Connect provides a fast, easy and
secure way to back up to Covenco’s cloud.
“When ransomware hit a few years later, the housing association
wasn’t crippled like they might have been if they hadn’t been backing
up to our cloud,” Sohal said. “Their business didn’t stop, their residents
weren’t impacted, and they didn’t pay ransom. They had complete visibility
and control of their data.”
Veeam and Covenco proactively prevented the housing association
from suffering a major disaster and debilitating downtime following the
cyberattack. In addition, Veeam and Covenco enable air-gapped backups
for mastery of the 3-2-1-1-0 Rule, and they offer additional ransomware
protection through immutable backups.
The cyberattack took place on the first day of the UK’s first Coronavirus
lockdown. Covenco discovered the housing association’s cloud backup
repository had been deleted and immediately contacted the association,
which quickly determined an unknown external entity had been
systematically deleting backup jobs. The association shut down its network
straightaway to prevent additional deletions.
Fortunately, Veeam Insider Protection places deleted backups in a recycle
bin for redundancy. Covenco returned the deleted backups to the cloud
repository so the housing association could restore lost data.
“Veeam helped us proactively prevent a major disaster by protecting
backups stored in our cloud from deletion,” Sohal said. “The housing
association recovered their data without paying ransom.”
As a result of the incident, the housing association opted for additional
protection. Veeam copies backups to tapes, and Covenco stores them
on-premises and off-premises. Covenco’s tape service not only provides
an offsite of backups, but it also provides an offline copy to ensure backups
are fully air gapped.
Since air-gapped backups are offline and inaccessible, the housing
association masters the 3-2-1-1-0 Rule (3 different copies of data
on 2 different media where 1 copy is offsite, 1 copy is air gapped, immutable
or offline and there are 0 recovery errors). Next the housing association
is considering immutable backups to boost ransomware protection. Veeam
creates a hardened Linux repository that protects against malicious intent
or deletion of data on the local backup repository.
In the meantime, Veeam backs up 10 TB across 50 VMware vSphere virtual
machines to Covenco’s cloud. Sohal said Veeam may eventually back up the
housing association’s 220 Exchange Online mailboxes to Covenco’s cloud
as well. Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 provides comprehensive
data protection to ensure complete access and control of data.
“A big misconception is that Office 365 already resides in the cloud,
so there’s no reason for a backup, but that’s not true,” Sohal said. “Veeam
backs up O365 data on-premises for our customers or directly to our cloud,
and a self-service portal makes recovery fast and easy.
“Veeam provides the best comprehensive backup technology, and
we provide the best BCDR services,” Sohal continued. “Together we provide
complete data protection, security and peace of mind.”
- Proactively prevents a major disaster and debilitating downtime
The power of Veeam technology combined with Covenco’s skills, expertise
and knowledge protects petabytes of data for thousands of customers.
- Enables air-gapped backups for mastery of the 3-2-1-1-0 Rule
Veeam is storage neutral; therefore, it supports backup to disk, tape and
cloud, enabling Covenco’s customers to choose whatever form of backup
copy works best for them.
- Offers extra ransomware protection through immutable backups
Veeam helps keep backups safe in immutable, hardened Linux repositories
that prevent encryption and accidental or malicious deletion from