The business challenge
The Serviceplan Group is the largest and most diversified owner- and partner-managed marketing group in Europe. Founded in 1970 as a traditional advertising agency, Serviceplan quickly developed its “house of communication” concept, creating the only fully integrated agency model in Germany, combining all communication disciplines under one roof. Whether they’re brand strategists, creative, design, media or online specialists, dialogue or CRM experts, market researchers, PR consultants or sales professionals, at Serviceplan, everyone works together to create sustainable, economically successful and fascinating brands.
The Serviceplan Agency Group is represented in 35 countries worldwide with 24 agency locations plus additional local partnerships. Most of the IT applications for individual subsidiaries and international locations are provided centrally from Munich. Serviceplan also operates two redundant data centers at the group's headquarters.
" The goal is for our teams worldwide to work on a common and integrated digital basis that optimally supports our workflows.," said Reitmeier.
The dimensions of Serviceplan's internal IT infrastructure are impressive: The group's Microsoft Hyper-V environment currently comprises of more than 400 virtual machines (VMs) with a storage capacity of around two petabytes.
"The production of digital content, such as ultra HD videos for advertising campaigns, creates unbelievably large amounts of data," said Reitmeier. "Our teams have to be able to access all this project data years later as clients rely on us to retain said information for whatever campaigns they may need it for."
While most of the creative applications for graphic design, image processing and film editing run on their own network, Serviceplan is increasingly using cloud solutions such as Microsoft Office 365 for communication and collaboration. Today, all e-mail communication is handled through Microsoft Exchange Online, and other Microsoft services such as SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business have also become established. For project management, many Serviceplan employees use Microsoft Teams.
"Office 365 offers us excellent opportunities for teamwork and communication with customers. As users, however, we are also responsible for backing up the data stored in the Microsoft cloud on a regular basis," said Reitmeir. "To ensure that customer service is not compromised, we also need to be able to make data that has already been deleted from the Microsoft cloud accessible for years to come.”
Therefore, Serviceplan's IT team was looking for a reliable and easy-to-use backup solution for Office 365.
The Veeam solution
Serviceplan has already been using Veeam Backup & Replication for a while to backup its virtual server infrastructure.
"The solution has proven itself in our daily work, because it works excellently with Microsoft Hyper-V and also copes well with very large data volumes," said Reitmeier. "Even huge file servers with a volume of over 100 terabytes can be restarted [with Veeam] from the backup within minutes after a failure. This allows us to achieve extremely short restore times for critical business applications."
Serviceplan also evaluated Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 and decided to use the solution after comparing it with other technologies. The flexible implementation options and the wide range of functions were the decisive factors.
With Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365, Serviceplan can back up all of its data from Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Microsoft Teams according to its own rules.
"While other solutions often only support cloud storage as a backup target, Veeam enables us to back up Office 365 data in our own data center," said Reitmeier. "This is much cheaper for us than renting cloud storage space for data backup. To back up the e-mail inboxes of our almost 4,000 employees alone, we would have needed around 40 terabytes of storage space with a cloud provider."
All in all, this results in enormous economic benefits: The IT department has calculated that by securing the Hyper-V infrastructure and Office 365 data with Veeam, the agency group can save several hundred thousand euros in storage costs over a period of five years.
Serviceplan can use familiar tools to recover Office 365 data: The integrated Veeam Explorers for Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SharePoint as well as OneDrive for Business enables fast search and granular recovery of individual application objects. Whether it's accidentally deleted emails, individual documents in OneDrive or entire SharePoint sites, Serviceplan's support staff can instantly locate and recover each item with a few clicks.
The implementation of the solution was very simple in practice:
"It only took us a few minutes to set up the data backup for our 4,000 user accounts," said Reitmeier.
Since then, the entire e-mail communication and all files in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business have been backed up according to Serviceplan's specifications. This also includes files that have been shared in Microsoft Team chats.
With this Veeam solution, Serviceplan can meet all retention obligations for its customers. Sensitive documents, such as market research results or address lists with personal data, are comprehensively protected against data loss.
"For example, it happens now and then that customers request information about previous projects, but the responsible employees in our company have left," said Reitmeier."With Veeam, we can e-discover all emails, files and websites in Office 365 at any time and provide the information we need quickly."
Saving hundreds of thousands of euros in storage costs
With the Veeam solution, Serviceplan not only protects the entire virtual infrastructure, but now also all data from Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Microsoft Teams in its own data center. This is around 70 percent cheaper for the group than a cloud-based backup. Serviceplan thus saves several hundred thousand euros in storage costs over a period of five years.
Fast restore of individual e-mails and files
Any Office 365 objects can be located and granularly restored with just a few clicks. The IT team uses the familiar functions it already knows from the local backup infrastructure based on Veeam Backup & Replication.
Reliable protection of project and customer data against data loss
Sensitive project information is reliably protected with the solution against accidental deletion, security threats and gaps in retention policies.