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City of Sarasota


Sarasota is located on the Gulf Coast of Florida, just south of Tampa. Known for rich cultural arts venues, miles of beautiful beaches and stunning sunsets, Sarasota is a city where urban amenities meet small-town living. The city employs 850 people and is home to 55,000 residents.


Residents expect city services to be available online. That’s why Sarasota made a conscientious effort to create digital components for almost all city services. City services are only valuable to residents if they’re available 24x7, especially in times of crisis, and Sarasota is vulnerable to hurricanes and flooding. Legacy backup failed frequently and put city services in jeopardy.


  • Delivers 24x7 Availability of city services
  • Guarantees business continuity
  • Meets city’s data integrity requirements snapshots

The Business Challenge

Modern cities offer innovative digital services to support economic growth and protect the safety and well being of residents. Digital services make cities more attractive to entrepreneurs starting new businesses and to families wanting to live in safe and secure communities.

Sarasota understands the value of digital transformation. The city has been ranked number 15 on CNBC’s list of the top 20 American cities to start a business and number three on Gallup’s Well-being Index that compares the social well being of 190 communities nationwide. Nearly every city service has a corresponding digital component, ranging from an online application for building permits, to crime mapping, to an emergency management web site. Information on this site helps resident prepare for, respond to and recover from hurricanes and flooding. Sarasota is vulnerable to a variety of hazards that threaten the community, businesses and the environment.

“Our job is to help keep city services running 24x7, particularly in the event of a crisis,” said Herminio Rodriguez, Sarasota’s Director of IT.

To ensure all city services remain available 24x7, Sarasota decided to replace legacy backup.

“Legacy backup was unable to meet the city’s data integrity needs in any way, shape or form,” Rodriguez said. “Backup failed frequently, and not even our backup vendor could figure out why.”

After spending three days on the phone with the backup vendor, Rodriquez and his team downloaded a free trial of Veeam® Backup & Replication™. Within 30 minutes they had configured Veeam and already started the first backup job. Sarasota replaced legacy backup with Veeam to keep city services running 24x7 and support digital transformation of future city services.

Veeam’s true test was yet to come. Ransomware was in the city’s future.

The Veeam Solution

Cyber criminals targeted the City of Sarasota in 2016. A ransomware virus took control of a city employee’s desktop computer, and files on three file servers were encrypted and rendered inaccessible. Cyber criminals demanded payment in Bitcoins, an untraceable digital currency, in the amount of $34 million.

“Rather than paying an outrageous ransom that no city could afford, we recovered our file servers from Veeam backups,” Rodriguez said. “If we hadn’t been able to recover them, we would have had massive data loss affecting all facets of the city and ultimately, it would have impacted our citizens.”

In addition to protecting city services and thwarting cyber attacks, Veeam enables Sarasota to do two things not possible with legacy backup: guarantee business continuity and follow the 3-2-1 backup rule.

“For the first time, we can tell our city commissioners that business continuity is absolute,” Rodriguez said. “Our backups are reliable and recovery is fast. We found a solution that meets the city’s data integrity needs. Veeam will be part of the city’s lifeblood forever.”

Sarasota now follows the 3-2-1 backup rule that recommends organizations maintain three copies of data, on two different media, with one copy backed up off site. Prior to Veeam, backups were on tape only. Veeam backs up to disk and copies backups to tape, giving the city two different media — disk and tape.

Veeam does one more thing for Sarasota: It simplifies demonstration of data compliance during annual audits. A feature called SureBackup® verifies the recoverability of every backup and another feature called Instant VM Recovery® restores data in minutes.

“Veeam helps us demonstrate data compliance very quickly, enabling us to spend more time ensuring the digital components of city services are meeting the needs of our residents.”

The Results

  • Delivers 24x7 Availability of city services
    Not even ransomware could stop Veeam from delivering Sarasota’s city services 24x7. Not a single service or resident was impacted because Veeam recovered all data.
  • Guarantees business continuity
    Legacy backup failed frequently, putting delivery of city services at risk. Veeam verifies the recoverability of every backup (SureBackup) and restores from backups in minutes (Instant VM Recovery), making business continuity a certainty.
  • Meets city’s data integrity requirements
    Veeam is the only 24x7 Availability solution that meets Sarasota’s data integrity needs, simplifies data compliance during annual audits and enables the city to follow the 3-2-1 backup rule.
City of Sarasota
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