The business challenges
Kern County is a citizen-centered government that serves and protects nearly
a million residents. Protects is the operative word because the county, like most
in California, is vulnerable to earthquakes, wildfires and ransomware.
California averages more than 100 earthquakes daily, and while the majority
are low in magnitude, many are not, including the earthquake that struck
Kern County in 1952. Registering 7.3 in magnitude, it killed 12 people and
caused tens of millions of dollars’ worth of damage. As if earthquakes
weren’t enough, more than 62,000 wildfires destroy homes, businesses and
property throughout the state each year. Ransomware is another ongoing
threat. In 2020, ransomware cost U.S. government organizations approximately
$18.88 billion in recovery and downtime.
“We take the threat of disasters very seriously, which means we take
data protection very seriously too,” said Mac Avancena, Chief Information
Technology Officer for Kern County. “When we moved from a legacy email
system called GroupWise to Microsoft Office 365, we worried about data
protection because Microsoft doesn’t offer comprehensive backup. Like all
governments, we depend on data to serve and protect the public. All 40 of our
departments, including fire, sheriff and public health, require continual data
access to keep residents safe.”
Transitioning to Microsoft Office 365 was the first step in Kern County’s Digital
Transformation. A short while later, the county implemented ReadyKern, a stateof-
the-art emergency notification system that alerts residents and businesses
to natural disasters and crises. Next the county will transition from a traditional
enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to Oracle ERP Cloud.
“In addition to protecting Microsoft Office 365 data, we wanted to modernize
and consolidate data protection for every IT system as we moved from
an analog world to a digital world,” Avancena said. “We chose Microsoft 365
because it’s a federally sanctioned system, and we chose Veeam® Backup for
Microsoft 365 because we felt it’s the best and only choice for data protection.
We appreciate that Veeam Software works hand-in-hand with Microsoft to make
sure their shared customers have a fully integrated solution that protects the
Avancena said one of Kern County’s top priorities is business continuity, so the
IT team deployed Veeam Backup & Replication™ next.
The Veeam solution
Veeam modernizes, standardizes and centralizes data protection for business
continuity. Veeam also supports the county’s Digital Transformation and
ransomware protection strategy. Additionally, Veeam verifies data recoverability
to facilitate compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability
Act (HIPPA), the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) and Personally Identifiable
Information (PII) law.
“Our goal was to consolidate data protection into one unified environment
to protect the integrity of our government, and we achieved that goal with
Veeam,” Avancena said. “It’s a good feeling knowing Veeam is our last line
of defense in a disaster situation because it’s not a matter of whether a disaster
will occur; it’s a matter of when.”
Veeam backs up 2 PB of data across 1,000 virtual machines (VMs) from Hewlett
Packard Enterprise (HPE) 3Par StoreServ snapshots to HPE StoreOnce, which
provides time-lock data immutability to increase ransomware protection.
“What I find fascinating about ransomware is that everyone wants to get
in front of the problem, which is great, but what do you do when you get hit?
Are you truly prepared? What’s your business continuity strategy?” Avancena
asked. “That’s why Veeam is our last line of defense. It preserves our business
To ensure ongoing business operations, Kern County conducts a DR test annually
using Veeam DataLabs™ to create isolated virtual environments for backups.
SureBackup® tests and verifies backups for recoverability and Staged Restore
scans them for malware before they’re restored to the production environment.
“Recovery validation makes it easier to meet regulatory requirements,” Avancena
said. “We never purge data, so we like that Veeam is scalable too.”
Avancena said when Kern County deployed Veeam to protect Microsoft 365,
no one knew Veeam would eventually protect every IT system.
“Veeam is our standard for data protection,” he continued. “It simplifies and
consolidates backup and DR so we have economies of scale, making IT more
efficient. Veeam is an important part of a multi-faceted strategy to achieve
better benefits for the county.”
- Modernizes, centralizes and standardizes data protection for business continuity
“Kern County is a $3.5 billion enterprise, so we considered the cost
of business if we didn’t invest in data protection,” Avancena said. “It would
be huge from a financial standpoint, but more important, it would
be devastating from a public safety and social welfare standpoint. Veeam
was an excellent addition to our data center.”
- Supports the county’s Digital Transformation and ransomware protection
“One of the biggest benefits of Veeam is it bridges multiple use cases,”
Avancena said. “We’re always learning about features that will enhance data
- Verifies data recoverability to facilitate compliance with HIPPA, CPRA and PII
“Veeam is an insurance policy,” Avancena said. “It backs up your data reliably
and recovers it effortlessly for compliance purposes.”