Learning today is less about location and more about purpose. Modern campuses depend on connectivity and collaboration more than physical spaces. “Our job is to provide students and faculty with IT services that are intuitive, user-friendly and reliable,” said Niek Coenraads, Senior System Network Administrator at Drenthe College. “Our challenge was keeping services available.”
One of the most critical services is email. Microsoft Exchange not only facilitates communication between students and faculty, it also serves as a repository for their conversations and documents, which are protected by the GDPR. When Drenthe College decided to migrate to Microsoft Office 365, the faculty had one big concern.
“They worried they’d lose access to their old emails,” Coenraads said. “Historical emails provide a record of conversations they’ve had with students and with colleagues. Historical emails document their work and their students’ work.”
The faculty’s concern was legitimate. Microsoft provides powerful services within Office 365, but comprehensive data backup is not one of them. “We told faculty not to worry because we had found a solution,” Coenraads said. “We promised they’d have total access, control and protection of their historical emails.”
Drenthe College deployed Veeam® Backup for Microsoft Office 365. “Having a Veeam backup ensured no historical emails were lost during and after the migration,” Coenraads said. “We delivered on our promise: total access, control and protection of all data in Office 365.”
Drenthe College backs up 150 VMware vSphere virtual machines (26 TBs) on-premises and recovers using built-in Veeam Explorers™ for Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive for Business. “We’re big fans of Veeam Explorers because they’re fast and simple to use,” Coenraads said. “We can recover emails accidentally deleted by faculty, and we can recover data in Microsoft Teams, where students and faculty meet online to share information.”
In addition to protecting data from accidental deletion, Veeam protects against security threats and supports legal compliance. “We restored OneDrive files on two critical occasions,” Coenraads said. “Once during a security situation and once during a legal investigation. The files were easy to access from Veeam backups; they wouldn’t have been easy to access from Office 365.”
Easy access is a hallmark of Veeam. Advanced search capabilities combined with flexible recovery and export options make it fast and simple to perform eDiscovery on Office 365 data.
Veeam helps Drenthe College comply with GDPR too. Backups are encrypted and stored on-premises and in Microsoft Azure. “Office 365 has limited retention policies that didn’t work for us,” Coenraads said. “We save data forever and Veeam’s retention polices meet our requirements.”
Office 365 data isn’t the only data Veeam protects. Veeam Backup & Replication™ has been protecting the college’s virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) for many years. Laptops provided by the college enable students and faculty to access additional educational applications.
“We’ve been satisfied Veeam users for so long that we didn’t consider anything else for Office 365,” Coenraads said. “We automatically moved to Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 and we love it as much as Veeam Backup & Replication. Both solutions do exactly what they promise to do and they’re half the price of other solutions. We don’t have a large budget for IT, but that’s OK because Veeam is affordable.”
Drenthe College provides vocational education to more than 9,000 students. Founded in 1996, the college operates 14 locations and employs nearly 1,000 faculty and staff. Drenthe College is part of MBO-raad, an association representing government-funded colleges for secondary vocational education and training in the Netherlands. Approximately 40% of the Dutch working population has obtained a vocational qualification.
Before Drenthe College migrated to Microsoft Office 365, faculty and staff had one concern: They worried they’d lose access to historical emails. Their concern was legitimate. Microsoft Office 365 doesn’t provide comprehensive backup.