The Business Challenge
New Orleans is one of the top 10 visited cities in the United States—and for
good reason. Nicknamed the Big Easy, the city offers multiple attractions
such as the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras, live street music
and a famous cuisine that reflects the city’s heritage combining French,
Spanish, African and American cultures.
New Orleans may be unique, but it has something in common with many
cities—it’s no stranger to cybercriminals. Between 2017 and 2020, cyberattacks
on state and local governments rose 50% in the United States, but what’s more
troubling is the increase in ransomware demands. During that same timeframe,
demands rose from an average of $30,000 per attack to millions. Even if a city
doesn’t pay ransom, the cost can be debilitating. Baltimore didn’t pay ransom
following an attack in 2019, yet the city paid more than $18 million
in damages and remediation.
What’s even worse is that cyberattacks spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic,
and that’s where the New Orleans saga begins. In the early morning hours
of December 2019, suspicious remote logins into the city’s servers began.
The IT team shut down Internet access and discovered a variant of Ryuk malware
had infected half of the servers, so they tried to recover data from backups that
hadn’t been affected. Unfortunately, the legacy backup solution didn’t cooperate.
“Several recoveries failed, so we quickly lost confidence in the legacy solution,”
said Bill Healy, Director of Operations for the City of New Orleans. “We didn’t feel
secure, so we opted for a more reliable, robust solution that would strengthen
our business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) strategy.”
Healy said Veeam® Availability Suite™ was already on the team’s radar,
so the decision to deploy was easy. Shortly after the ransomware attack,
the team moved email off-premises to protect it.
“Making the decision to deploy Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365
was just as easy,” Healy said.
The Veeam solution
Veeam protects the IT infrastructure that helps make New Orleans
an extraordinary destination, including the systems and data supporting city
services, tourism and public safety. Veeam also fortifies New Orlean’s BCDR
strategy, enabling employees to work remotely during COVID-19, and it provides
complete access, control and protection of Office 365 data.
“Veeam provides excellent data protection,” said Kimberly LaGrue, CIO
for the City of New Orleans. “Everyone who was part of the ransomware
recovery process is breathing a big sigh of relief.”
Veeam backs up 2 TB across 230 virtual machines to Pure Storage FlashArray,
which replicates for DR. Veeam protects city services such as water and sewage
as well as tourism services supporting the Vieux Carré Commission, which preserves
the distinct architecture and historic character of New Orleans. Veeam also
protects public safety services including police and fire.
“Millions of people visit New Orleans each year, so we have to have complete
confidence that every city, tourism and public safety service is secure
and operational,” Healy said. “Veeam gives us that confidence.”
One of the ways Veeam boosts confidence is by strengthening the city’s
BCDR strategy. Veeam offers easy DR orchestration and recovery testing,
infrastructure assessment and documentation, capacity planning and “what
if” modeling, and infrastructure monitoring and reporting.
“Knowing Veeam backs up the systems enabling employees to work remotely
during COVID-19 is a good feeling,” Healy said. “If we run into an issue,
recovery is fast and easy.”
Another way Veeam boosts confidence is by backing up Office 365 data
on-premises, which provides total access, control and protection of city data
in Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Microsoft Teams.
“Microsoft provides redundancy, and then it’s your responsibility to back up data.
Veeam takes care of that for us,” Healy said.
Healy said the team is also thinking about moving the city’s virtual desktop
infrastructure (VDI) to the cloud.
“Veeam is widely recognized for cloud data management, so we know that
piece of the puzzle is there when we need it,” he said. “We’re counting on Veeam
to help us ensure all data is available whether it’s on-prem or in a cloud.”
- Protects all systems and data supporting city services, tourism and public safety
“Our goal was reliable data protection with zero recovery challenges,
and that’s what Veeam delivers,” Healy said.
- Fortifies the BCDR strategy so employees can work remotely during
“Veeam gives us the confidence that we didn’t have with legacy
backup,” Healy said. “We know if Veeam protects something, we can
recover it quickly and easily.”
- Provides total access, control and protection of city data in Microsoft
The city’s IT team never has to settle for less than reliable
backup and granular recovery of Office 365 email items, SharePoint sites,
OneDrive for Business accounts and Teams’ data. In just a few clicks,
Veeam will restore what the city needs.