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Sunwing Vacations Inc. strengthens ransomware protection and business continuity with Veeam Backup for Microsoft Azure

Veeam is a critical component of our business continuity and recovery plan because it protects data across platforms — whether it’s in Azure, Salesforce or on premise. Data is backed up reliably and can be restored quickly in the event of a ransomware attempt.
Hilton Reading
IT Infrastructure & Cloud Leader
Sunwing Travel Group

The Business Challenge

Sunwing makes vacation dreams come true for more than 2 million customers annually.

The company is dedicated to delivering frictionless, unique and memorable vacation experiences. 

“Sunwing believes vacations should be easy — our customers’ biggest concern should be whether to relax by the beach or the pool,” said Hilton Reading, IT Infrastructure & Cloud Leader at Sunwing Travel Group. “That’s why our biggest concern in IT is making sure all business-critical data supporting the company is backed up securely and can be restored quickly.”

Reading said data protection has always been a top priority, but it’s more important now than ever before because of rising ransomware attacks.

“Every company faces the increasing threat of ransomware, which is challenging enough, but we also face a threat that is specific to our industry — hijacking. It’s crucial we protect data such as reservation information, customer information, flight manifest data and business intelligence data. We protect data not only for the safety of our customers but also to comply with regulatory requirements from Transport Canada and other global regulators.”

Sunwing must be absolutely sure data is backed up and recoverable, so when backup and recovery became a challenge, the IT team acted fast and looked to Veeam® Availability Suite™ as a viable solution.

“Our requirements for data protection are straightforward,” Reading said. “The solution must be secure, cost-effective, easy to manage and hybrid-ready because 99% of our IT infrastructure is in Microsoft Azure. Veeam was the clear winner because it met and exceeded all of our requirements, including a virtual appliance for Veeam Backup for Microsoft Azure.”

The Veeam Solution

Veeam provides Sunwing with a single platform to protect all workloads from ransomware including cloud, virtual, physical and Software as a Service (SaaS). Veeam supports regulatory compliance with Transport Canada, provides annual cost savings and paves the way for additional cloud adoption.

“Veeam is a critical component of our business continuity and recovery plan because it protects data across platforms — whether it’s in Azure, Salesforce or on prem,” Reading said. “Data is backed up reliably, and we know we can restore it quickly in the event of a ransomware attempt.”

Veeam backs up more than 150 TB across hundreds of virtual machines in Microsoft Azure and both physical and virtual machines on premises to Microsoft Azure Blob Storage. To keep data safe from ransomware, Veeam encrypts backups and makes three copies. If Sunwing needs to recover data, Veeam Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure restores from a backup archived in Azure Blob.

“Veeam helps us meet regulatory requirements in three easy steps: data protection, data retention and eDiscovery,” Reading said. “If there’s an airline problem, for example, we would immediately lock down our data, so it is tamper-proof, and Veeam gives us the ability to do exactly that.”

Reading said one of his favorite Veeam features is flexible, portable licensing.

“The Veeam Universal License is a per-workload license, enabling us to save each year in backup costs,” he explained, “That level of flexibility also makes it cost-effective for us to consider additional clouds in the future. While currently dedicated to Azure, as we optimize applications we’ll look at hybrid cloud options like Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS). There’s no cloud lock-in with Veeam — it’s an extremely agile solution.”

Reading said agility is one of Veeam’s best attributes.

“We’re experiencing significantly higher travel volumes following the COVID-19 pandemic, and more employees are working from home, so agile data protection is a necessity. Veeam is an enterprise solution that ensures our business-critical data is always available.”

The Results

Provides a single platform to protect all workloads from ransomware

“We can’t operate without data,” Reading said. “We can replace the systems that run data, but we can’t replace the actual data because it is unique to our company. Data protection is critical to our success.”

Supports regulatory compliance requirements from Transport Canada

“Veeam gives us the flexibility required to support the business and comply with government requirements that help keep passengers safe,” Reading said.

Delivers significant annual savings in data protection costs; eliminates cloud lock-in

In addition to reducing the cost and complexity of data protection, Veeam is purpose built for Azure, Google Cloud and AWS, giving Sunwing the freedom to choose what clouds work best for the business.


As the largest integrated travel company in North America, Sunwing Vacations Inc. offers more flights to the south than any leisure carrier. The company provides direct service from airports across Canada to popular sun destinations in the United States, the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. Sunwing also offers customers exclusive deals at top-rated resorts in the most popular vacation destinations as well as cruise packages and seasonal domestic flight service. Established in 2002 and headquartered in Toronto, Sunwing Travel Group employs over 5,000 people.


Like most companies, Sunwing faces the ongoing threat of ransomware and must ensure that business-critical data is backed up and recoverable When a previous managed service provider’s Backup as a Service (BaaS) offering posed challenges with respect to meeting recovery objectives, Sunwing deployed a far more technologically agile and effective solution.


  • Provides a single platform to protect all workloads from ransomware
  • Supports regulatory compliance requirements from Transport Canada
  • Delivers significant annual saving in data protection costs; eliminates cloud lock-in and offers greater agility