Since its establishment in 1917, the IWM has been dedicated to educating people about the causes, experiences and consequences of conflict, for victims, survivors and the wider implications of conflict. The organisation consists of six sites across the U.K. and welcomes over 2.4 million visitors each year.
Digital technology plays a vital role in the delivery of content by IWM engaging visitors with experiences of conflict through collections and exhibitions while enabling the museum’s employees and volunteers to carry out their roles maintaining the organisation and collections.
The IT team consisting of some 20 staff across the U.K. plays a critical part in keeping the museum running and the digital asset management systems running uninterrupted. Digital records are a fundamental part of the museum - preserving and educating through the retelling of stories of conflict to future generations. Losing video or audio footage, such as the secrets of the D-Day Normandy Landings, would be just as serious as losing a physical exhibit like soldiers’ letters or original contemporary photographs.
The IWM IT department also maintains most of their technology services in-house, with most systems hosted on-premises. Applications like the collection management system are vital to the operations of the museum, so they need to be backed up and recoverable should the worst happen. At the same time, IWM’s IT team must seek out solutions which provide good value for money.
IWM’s previous data backup solution was problematic. Too often glitches in backup software would produce unrecoverable archives which couldn’t be detected until a restore was attempted. “With the same hardware and our new solution from Veeam we protect the same data with full confidence it is all easily recoverable. It’s a big contrast from where we were before”. Emmett Jenner, IT Infrastructure Manager, Imperial War Museum.
As IWM continues to expand its use of digital technology and moves more systems to the cloud a data management solution that keeps up with changing times which can protect the museum’s past and support its future is crucial. “Veeam enables us to protect any data on any platform”. Emmett Jenner, IT Infrastructure Manager, Imperial War Museum.
With glitchy and problematic software potentially risking data the museum had to look for a new backup and recovery system to support their physical servers. Veeam was well known for its platform reliability and ease-of-use, so after considering several other solutions, IWM chose to expand their use of Veeam Backup & Replication and eliminate other packages, consolidating their physical and virtual backups onto one platform. “We had used Veeam elsewhere within the estate previously, so it provided great comfort to the team to be expanding use of Veeam which had good dependability to deliver comprehensive backup and recovery for all workloads”. said Emmett.
One of the initial benefits of the platform was peace of mind. “Before, we couldn’t be certain that everything was working correctly. Our previous solution encouraged a hands-off approach requiring good faith that our data was protected. With Veeam nothing is left to chance, we can see our critical data and applications are being backed up as often as they need to be. We’ve gone from spending hours discovering problems and fire-fighting to just monitoring our systems. We get back valuable time back and lessens the burden on IT,” adds Emmett.
Another important benefit for the IWM was Veeam’s versatility. The museum has a mature IT setup including on-premises systems and a large volume of data to protect, including over 23,000 hours of film and hundreds of thousands of photographs. This number will increase rapidly with the continuous digitization of their collections. Working at this scale beings many IT challenges, Veeam’s flexibility is a great advantage. “With Veeam, the licensing isn’t overly restrictive, so you’re not tied down by only being able to back up a certain volume of data or number of machines. It means we can expand without being worried about the cost, so it provides great value for the money,” said Emmett.
Security compliance is also business critical to the museum due to it being government regulated and with London’s top attractions fending off more than 100 million attempted cyber-attacks in recent times. Criminals attack tourist attraction infrastructures because they are aware that such organisations hold a significant amount of data that can be sold or used maliciously. Tackling this problem means extra investments in encryption technologies, security certificates and necessary safeguards to keep membership details safe from outsider threats. “Veeam’s built-in end-to-end AES 256-bit encryption has helped us to deploy the best security practices and become compliant with a number of standards, such as the Cyber Essentials accreditation delivered by the National Cyber Security Center,” said Emmett.
The IMW recorded over 10 million attempted cyber-attacks in the last three years. “Being secure at every point is vital, including data backup. Veeam allows us to do that”, said Emmett.
Looking ahead, the IWM is committed to using digital technologies to further enrich people’s understanding of the causes and consequences of war and help grow its commercial activities.
“Veeam’s partnership will help our museum as it continues to transform by protecting crucial data and supporting exciting new applications as we move more and more into the cloud. We are a global authority on conflict and its impact on people’s lives, from 1914 through to the present day and beyond. The Veeam Cloud Data Management™ platform will play a key role in that journey,” said Emmett.
Founded more than 100 years ago, Imperial War Museums (IWM) are a family of five museums operating across London, Manchester and Duxford. IWM collections cover all aspects of twentieth and twenty-first century conflicts that involve Britain, the Commonwealth and other former empire countries. Funded partly by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and partly by donations and commercial activity, IWM attracts 2.4 million visitors a year and is in the top tier of British cultural organisations.
In addition to physical exhibits, the IMW has an extensive collection of digital assets and information that it uses to tell the stories of conflict, including moving pictures, photographs and tape recordings. Their IT team is therefore tasked with backing up and protecting these unique digital assets as well as providing the core systems running the museum and protect against the increasing threat of cyber-attacks. Being able to keep the data and systems safe cost effectively helps maintain good visitor experiences which is critical for preserving the museums heritage while moving towards a more digital orientated future.