The Business Challenge
Enabel is responsible for more than 300 projects in 17 partner countries, mainly in Africa, but also across Asia and South America. In 2018, the agency’s budget amounted to € 203.7 million, in support of fields of action such as education, health, agriculture, energy and the environment. Enabel, formerly Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC), is the Belgian government’s development agency responsible for implementing and coordinating Belgium’s international development policy in fragile states and least developed countries. Enabel is driven by its public service mission and a strong commitment to the sustainable development objectives adopted by the United Nations in 2015.
In 2017, Enabel began migrating its data and applications to the cloud and, as part of the framework agreement between Microsoft and the Belgian government, migrated its email service to Microsoft Office 365 in 2018. This shift to the cloud is strategic for Enabel, which employs more than 1,400 people worldwide, including around 170 in its Brussels headquarters. The cloud offers field staff greater efficiency and helps the IT department simplify the management of users for each project, whose average durations is 5 to 6 years. With Microsoft Office 365 mailboxes, IT was able to standardize the service offered to all employees, who now benefit from all the functionalities of a modern messaging system.
The level of IT service quality for field staff and the protection of data exchanged daily by employees are major priorities for Enabel, especially since most applications used by employees are now web applications hosted in the cloud. Every day, the IT department must ensure the protection of tens of thousands of emails and documents shared between team members.
The Veeam Solution
Historically, strategic email and email data were hosted locally on the agency’s servers and IT performed tape backups. The transition to Microsoft Office 365 required a cloud-ready backup solution, as the native Microsoft Office 365 email archiving option is not a data protection solution.
During the public procurement tender, Enabel was impressed with Veeam’s® stature in the IT sector, as well as with Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365’s functionalities and ease of administration. “Veeam’s offer stood out from other solutions on the market on several levels: the competitive price of its solution, its scalability and its ease of management. These arguments, combined with Veeam’s reputation, convinced us that the solution would meet our expectations,” says Ersin Yuksel, System Administrator and Networks, Enabel.
Once the solution was deployed by Nexis, a certified Veeam ProPartner Gold Reseller technology integrator, Enabel realized several benefits. First, they can now count on a reliable, complete and fast backup of its messaging data. Whereas only 200 mailboxes were protected with tape backup, Veeam’s backup covers the mailboxes of all 1,400 users, plus daily incremental backups now take about an hour and a half, compared to five hours previously. The IT team has also become more efficient in restoring user data. An individual object now takes only five minutes, as opposed to two hours previously. As Yuksel explains: “Our old system required reading entire tapes to find the items to restore. Now, these restoration operations only take a few clicks, saving time for users and our teams alike.”
The management of backup and recovery operations now involves only two people in the team, compared to four previously. These time savings mean the team can focus on issues critical to Enabel’s operations, such as building a framework to harmonize the Internet service for employees in the field, so that all offices around the world can benefit from a reliable and efficient connection.
Critically for Enabel, the adoption of the Veeam solution has meant the key objectives can now be met. These include the protection of 3TB of messaging data and documents shared by employees via Office 365 groups. In addition, if there is a turnover of staff, accounting and invoice documents are available so that financials audits are not impacted. These objectives are critical to Enabel’s ambition to be fully transparent with its activities and in line with Belgium’s commitments to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).
Confident in Veeam’s performance and reliability for the protection of Microsoft Office 365 data, the IT team is optimistic about the future adoption of SharePoint within Enabel. “The protection of our Office 365 data ensures we retain access and control over our critical emails and documents. Thanks to its efficiency and scalability, Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 helps us improve the operational efficiency of our field teams in the long term,” concludes Yuksel.
- 95% of saved operational time
While Enabel’s number of mailboxes increased sevenfold – the time required for incremental backups has been reduced by 75%. In addition, the time dedicated to restoring an individual object has been reduced from two hours with the old tape backup system to only 5 minutes with Veeam.
- Supports compliance and audit requirements
Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 ensures Enabel can retrieve financial documents and invoice data when staff leave the organization.
- Guaranteed protection for evolving needs
Ersin and his team know that they can rely on Veeam for SharePoint data protection, which Enabel plans to adopt soon.