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Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC) collects incredibly sensitive information on those they help, and fully understands the threat that cyber disruptions could pose to that data and delivery of critical services.
Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC) provides a wide range of services to facilitate a smooth transition, proper settlement and successful integration into the Calgary community. Given the confidentiality of the information they collect to carry out their mission, protection of that data is a very significant concern.
In 2019, ISC supported more than 23,000 newcomers to Calgary from almost 180 countries and who spoke 180 languages. “We provide counseling, language testing, assessments, and all kinds of services to help individuals and families get settled here in Calgary,” said Eric Chu, ISC’s IT Coordinator. “We have their records with tons of information like names, address, phone number, date of birth, their kids’ information, their immigration ID number. It is really sensitive information.”
And not only does that information require top-level protection, but governmental regulations also require data sovereignty. “It isn’t enough to just worry about hackers, I have to make sure the data remains 100 percent stored in Canada,” Chu added.
Given the increasing threat of ransomware and cyber-attacks, ICS knew it needed a fully cloud-based backup and recovery service that was easy to use and affordable.
Chu has been trying to find ways to automate IT to both lower costs and to move some of the day-to-day concerns off his plate. He started exploring the idea of moving into the cloud five years ago and submitted a series of different management proposals for approval from upper management. Three years ago, he received approval to use Microsoft 365. It was a good step in the right direction, but Chu knew he needed to continue ISC’s migration to the cloud, both for the sake of his budget and his sanity. “We needed to be more efficient, more streamlined,” he said.
All hesitancy in moving backup to the cloud evaporated when a contractor accidentally deleted an employee’s license. It took 40 days for ISC to discover the data was lost. By then they realized that they had lost all emails from that employee—four years’ worth. That was the aha moment they needed to truly make the move into the cloud. And here is what ISC was looking for in a backup solution:
• Data had to be 100 percent stored in Canada per government regulations
• Quick and efficient data recovery of data in the advent of a ransomware attack
• Simplicity and ease of implementation and use
• The cost needed to be affordable and easy to understand
Clumio’s cloud-based service provided ISC the backup necessary to ease their concerns over data loss. And it was so easy to implement they had it up and running in 15 minutes.
As luck would have it, just as Chu truly started to get serious about his search, he happened to receive a call from Clumio promoting its service launch in Canada. Chu found his interest piqued by Clumio’s cloud backup service, and the minimum amount of setup required. “It sounded like what we were looking for,” Chu said. “Better service and less work.”
The subsequent product demonstration didn’t last long before Chu knew he had found the answer. Clumio was offering a solution that met all of Chu’s data sovereignty and protection concerns in a way that was simple to use and at a great price. “The whole thing took 15 minutes to do. You quickly spin up a VM and then link it and then that’s it. It’s easy,” Chu said. “And the pricing really fit our budget.”
With more people working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chu’s concerns about ransomware, protecting ISC data and giving himself a recovery path were very much top of mind. Now, Chu says he’s no longer worried. “We trust Clumio to handle all of our data,” he said. “It’s not something we need to worry about.”
In the past, data retention and recovery were both riddled with gaps and required significant man hours. All that has changed with Clumio. “Last week our finance manager asked me how often our data is being backed up, and I no longer had to say something like we only back it up every day,” Chu said. “Now it’s easy and I get to say we do it every four hours.
And instead of having to do any manual cut and paste to restore data if necessary, Chu can simply search and restore any file he needs based on the desired date. “I can find my data across backups as opposed to hunting through tapes,” he added.
While other providers store data in clouds in the US or Europe, Clumio’s launch into Canada quelled Chu’s data sovereignty concerns. Most of ISC funding comes from the Canadian federal government, and with that comes regulatory requirements on data, especially the client data retention. Clumio’s ability to host the data in Canada, combined with its automatic backup scheduling and easy recovery process, gave ISC confidence in being able meet all of the federal data requirements.
While Clumio’s immutable and air-gapped backup soothed ISC data protection concerns, the ease in using those solutions was a real winner for Chu. “It is so easy to set up. I just followed the guide. And now I have everything under one pane of glass, so I can see everything and do everything from one panel,” Chu said.
He added that if he ever ran into a hiccup, he knows that Clumio will be there to support him. “With other vendors you sometimes find yourself having to describe an issue, and then they escalate it and you have to repeat the whole thing again,” Chu stated. “With Clumio there is one contact who listens to the issue and resolves it. Clumio customer support is proactive and really fast.”
Clumio’s cost was the icing on the cake, as its straightforward pricing helped separate it from its competitors. “We don’t have to buy a server, bill by a number of lights or by a number of sockets,” Chu said. “There are minimum onsite requirements, and everything is in the cloud. We just pay for our storage.”
From cost savings to keeping his backup data in Canada, Chu and Immigrant Services Calgary are already seeing significant results.
Chu has already started phasing out on-premise backup infrastructure and is reducing his CapEx. Best of all, by reducing his implementation and management time he is now able to shift his own emphasis and energy from the day-to-day efforts of data protection to bigger projects. “Our CEO is focused on using technology innovation to better serve new Canadians,” said Chu. “I can better support that effort by letting Clumio handle backup while I focus on more strategic initiatives.”
ISC is exploring other ways to deploy Clumio as it continues to enhance and modernize its IT tools and products. They are excited about Clumio’s continuous effort to innovate and expand their services, and now see Clumio as a true partner as they move more fully into the cloud.
Clumio isn’t just going to help Chu’s organization continue its move into the cloud in the future, he says Clumio is the future. “So many of the solutions out there are more of a legacy tool that adds a cloud on top of it.,” Chu said. “Clumio is cloud first. It’s built for and on the cloud. And that’s exactly what we’re looking for.”
Since 1977, Immigrant Services Calgary has been providing a wide range of settlement services to immigrants and refugees looking to begin a new
chapter of their lives in Canada. They employ a client-focused, integrated approach when working with individuals and their families to help them
settle in Calgary.