Furze-Warren Case Study
When cyber-criminals demanded 800 bitcoins to unencrypt the Furze-Warren Hard Federation’s data, Chidi was adamant there was no way the ransom would be...
Redstor rescue Furze-Warren after ransomware attack
Cyber-criminals demanded payment in bitcoins
by speedy recovery of data
Chidi Oke, the IT network manager for three schools hit by a ransomware attack, insists he will never be without Redstor after benefiting from a speedy and efficient recovery of student and staff files.
When cyber-criminals demanded 800 bitcoins to unencrypt the Furze-Warren Hard Federation’s data, Chidi was adamant there was no way the ransom would be paid. However, he admitted that he felt frustrated, alone and powerless after ransomware swept through the system.
Chidi said: “Redstor really saved my bacon. I was on a cliff edge and only needed a little push to go over.”
The ransomware got in via a remote-access resource that allowed teachers to upload and download files from home. Chidi said: “During the process something hitched a ride and encrypted everything, even the local backups. Nothing was working for the schools.
“Everything was messed up on the domain controller and file server. Group policies were not pushing down, users could not get to their home directories, to their file shares. We had printers not deploying. It was really painful. I had been using Redstor for a year so I knew I had restore points I could go to.”
“I started a restore on the Sunday at about 3.30pm and by the time I came in on the Monday morning the domain controller had been restored.”
Having seen first hand the effects of viruses encrypting data, Chidi knows the value of having a data management solution that delivers reliable backup and recovery and disaster recovery, along with archiving, discovery and insight.
He said: “My head of school was very impressed because everyone was thinking ‘we’ve lost everything’.”
Chidi is also safe in the knowledge that Redstor’s InstantData is protecting the Furze-Warren Hard Federation against the impact of any further issues.
By delivering streamed, on-demand access to whatever data is needed, Redstor is ending downtime.
With InstantData - Redstor’s unique, user-driven streaming technology - there is no need to wait for a full recovery. At the click of a button, Redstor gets users up and running within seconds, not days.
Redstor protects 2TB of admin data, including crucial financial and sensitive documents, radically reducing the impact of security incidents, data breaches and hardware failure.
Chidi, who looks after 20 servers across the three schools, said: “I have tried and tested InstantData and I know that if there was an issue with a server, I can get it back up in maybe, worst case in an hour – and users would be up and running while the full restore is going on in the background.”
This is far quicker than the federation’s old method of recovering sensitive data from physical tapes.
If ever I had to restore a lost file, I had to find the right tapes and they had to be in the same catalogue.
“I remember looking for one file that a member of staff could not find. She had not accessed it for a long while. We ended up going through 20 different tapes searching for it. That took about a day and a half.
“With Redstor you just pull down the file instantly.”
Chidi Oke, the IT Network Manager
- Recovering school’s data after ransomware attack
- Keeping school working while data is recovered
- High management overheads associated with managing data when using tape to back up data
- Retention and billing complexities
- Difficulty finding expert support
- InstantData, Redstor’s unique on-demand streaming technology
- A data management solution that delivers reliable backup and recovery, archiving, disaster recovery and global search
- Intelligent, policy-driven automation and sophisticated reporting with a centralised management console, offering borderless visibility of entire, complex data estate at any time, on any device
- Transparent and predictable pricing with no hidden costs or surprises
- Support provided by an organisation that is both the technology vendor and infrastructure owner
- Stream data in real time to any device, making downtime a thing of the past
- No need to wait for full recovery - gain immediate access to automated, encrypted and secure online backup and recovery
- IT manager has saved four hours on data management admin every week
- Easy installation, no hardware costs and ability to scale up or down as demand changes
- Fast 24/7/365 access to a support team that draws on 20 years’ knowledge and experience within the storage and backup industry
Borderless visibility of data
Built for the cloud
Thanks to a unique solution that is built for the cloud, Furze-Warren Hard Federation’s network manager is now able to discover, manage, control and protect the data of three schools with ease.
Running on servers, laptops and workstations, with backup selections profiled from the management console, Redstor provides rapid and granular restore for Office 365 and SaaS applications.
Redstor unifies backup, instant-data recovery and access, archiving, search and data migration through a secure, central console, enabling borderless visibility of Furze-Warren’s entire data estate at any time, on any device.
Chidi said: “I have the one console and I can see everything. Working remotely is a major advantage as well. Getting a file from Redstor is like attaching a map to drive. You can do it from anywhere - any site or even at home. That’s a massive bonus.”
Multiple copies of backups are held securely encrypted in UK data centres. The encryption key is set by the customer, ensuring no unauthorised access.
This is particularly important for schools, who have to retain their last seven years of data, protecting financial details and safeguarding information on pupils.
The automated reporting frees up my time significantly. It has given me back at least an hour of my time every day.
"I love the process. With one email I can see what is happening in all the servers across the three schools. I come in at 7AM every day and just see all green – backups are done, everything is ok. I’m good for the day."
Liberated IT staff
Deployed and configured in 15 minutes, Redstor has made data management tasks smaller and simpler for Chidi and the schools whose IT requirements he looks after.
By switching from tape-based backups, Chidi has enjoyed massive time savings and he can now see more quickly if there is a problem.
He said: “I would not advise my enemy to go to tapes. It was horrendous. I used to do differential backups for the three different schools – going in every morning to get the tape out, making sure it was labelled properly and changing tapes for all three on a daily basis was hellish.
“I would spend eight hours per week going back and forth between sites just to change tapes. For this reason we were only able to do a full backup twice a week which just wasn’t good enough. There was one particular occasion, where I tried to run a restore and found that one of the tapes had been misplaced and therefore wouldn’t complete the process.
“Whilst this wasn’t a serious issue, it made me realise that we could no longer rely on tapes and needed a backup solution that was more reliable.”
The time taken to complete a backup has dropped to less than an hour with Redstor’s fully automated service – and Chidi spends less time sorting out incomplete backups.
A notification email is sent each morning to assure him that the backup was a success.
Are you happy with the time it takes to monitor your backups every week?
- No, it takes far too long?
- I’m sure it could be a bit quicker?
- Yes, it hardly takes any time?
Transparent and predictable pricing
Transparent and predictable pricing
Not only are traditional backups costly, complicated and time-consuming, they cannot scale to support the explosion in new apps and growing data sets.
As well as removing manual overheads, Redstor allows Furze-Warren Hard Federation to budget confidently with a pricing model that is subscription-based, simple and predictable.
The schools can now scale up or down as demand changes. There are no hidden costs, no surprises.
Chidi said: “There are two things that are stable in the IT budget – Redstor and Microsoft Licensing.
“I’m always recommending it. People sometimes tell me ‘we are a small school and don’t have the money’, but I always say ‘you cannot afford to be without Redstor’. That’s because the software will pay for itself in the management time it saves.”
Redstor’s clients have 24/7 access to a support team that draws on 20 years’ knowledge and experience within the storage and backup industry.
If Chidi ever needs support, he has the reassurance that he is speaking to an organisation that is both the technology vendor and infrastructure owner.
Redstor also feeds all input directly into software development. That’s why the software is constantly improving in the way clients desire.
Most important of all, though, for Chidi was that Redstor’s support team were there for him when he needed them the most.
“That was a total lifesaver for me because the virus had effectively locked down all the records we had on the kids.”
He said: “When we became aware of the ransomware attack on the Saturday I logged a call and a member of the support team started downloading the backup straight away. He said he would get the disk to me immediately and he actually delivered it to my home on the Sunday.
“I cannot speak highly enough of the support desk. Whenever I have had to call them, they have always been there and ready to help me with whatever I need in good time.”
Proven and trusted tech
Redstor is trusted by more than 40,000 clients around the world to help discover, analyse, control and protect their critical data.
The Furze-Warren Hard Federation has used Redstor for the last three years, safe in the knowledge that they are complying with the legislation and guidelines, outlined by Ofsted and the Data Protection Act, and enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office, which requires schools to securely back up data off site on a daily basis.
From the moment I first saw a demo of Redstor I have never looked back.
Redstor has given me such peace of mind. It’s easy to manage and you can rely on it completely to do everything you need it to do – without any hassle.
For us Redstor is No. 1. We simply cannot do without it.