BeSpoke BaaS for all the data backup needs

Learn how a leading retail giant in India managed to leverage the advantages of both on-premise as well as SaaS-based backups using Parablu’s hybrid “Bespoke BaaS” approach.

Customer description

The customer is a dominant player in India’s retail landscape. With a pan-India operation and several thousand operating retail stores that stock items as diverse as fashion apparel, fresh food, groceries, and family entertainment offerings – they are a retail juggernaut.

The challenge

1. Manual Backups

This retail giant’s earlier backup strategy was highly simplistic and de-centralized.   Endpoints backed up to whatever storage medium was available in their local offices (or retail stores). And the backup process was manual – which meant that somebody had to take the responsibility to perform such backups at a predictable frequency. For a while, the team was happy with this type of local, on-premise storage backup, since they perceived it as offering them an assurance of having greater control over data security and privacy.

However, they soon came to realize that such a great reliance on human involvement meant a much higher chance of potential failures in backing up critical business data which consequently could cause data losses.  There was also unclear accountability when such data losses occurred.  It became clear to them that it was important to implement a streamlined and automated backup process that would not only reduce manual intervention, but also increase reliability, predictability, and speed in the backup process – thus guaranteeing a significantly higher level of data protection.

For a while, the team was happy with this type of local, on-premise storage backup, since they perceived it as offering them an assurance of having greater control over data security and privacy.

2. Mobile workforce and multiple operation locations

The manual backup process was made more complex and error prone since business operations were spread across several locations and also involved a mobile workforce who were constantly on the move. This meant that even if the IT team missed backing up data from a single individual’s endpoint, it could trigger a chain of data availability and data security issues.  With the de-centralized process they had in place, and the workforce being mobile, the IT team found it virtually impossible to track each user’s endpoint data backup – since the backups would occur locally to on-premise storage in the location they happened to be in any given day.

3. Effect of the Pandemic and Work from Home

Once the pandemic hit, and huge numbers of their employees started working from home, the situation became dire.  Backing up to local storage was no more an option – because employees at home had no practical way to connect to such storage.  The enterprise did encourage the workforce to access the company network using a VPN, but this proved to be an unsustainable workaround due to bandwidth usage issues and latencies.

The business was also worried about exposing data stored in user endpoints to additional risks in an unsupervised home environment. And the ever-increasing incidents of ransomware added another level of complexity and data security risk.

4. Over-extended IT teams

With the traditional backup mechanism proving inadequate in the new WFH scenario, it put increased pressure on the IT teams to find reliable ways to protect endpoint data. Maintaining the local backup infrastructure, trouble-shooting VPN issues, and helping users perform manual, on-demand backups/restores were all proving to be time-consuming and prohibitively labor intensive.  The retail giant realized that their IT team was spending more time hunting down data losses or troubleshooting unavailability issues than in providing a high-quality experience to their stakeholders.

5. Lack of Visibility on data backups and restores

With the de-centralized backup mechanism they had in place, the IT team did not have complete visibility to the backups and restores from the business endpoints. They couldn’t reliably tell which endpoints were protected and which were not, or when an endpoint was last backed up. They were also not able to reliably test and verify the recoverability of backups. This low visibility over data backup performance meant higher chances of corporate data loss – and worse, an increase in their vulnerability to a ransomware attack or an insider threat.

The IT teams came to the conclusion that a cloud-based backup which could service all users irrespective of location was the answer. They also realized that they needed centralized management and reporting – in order to get a bird’s eye view of overall data protection performance and all backup/restore activity.

However, they still had a few concerns though around costs and security.

  • With business data being saved offsite in the cloud, they had concerns around security, confidentiality and privacy around such data. More so, since their ability to regulate and enforce security around cloud storage was limited.
  • Additionally, they feared the potential additional cost burden a new backup solution would place on them. Especially since it could involve purchasing cloud storage, additional bandwidth etc.

Why Parablu?

This retail giant heard about Parablu through one of their technology partners. During the evaluation, they explored and experienced the features and capabilities offered by BluVault, Parablu’s flagship backup solution.  The offerings were a perfect fit for the urgent requirements they had around data protection and availability.

Here are some of the other reasons Parablu made the grade:

  • Parablu offered a unique solution – Bespoke BaaS. It allowed this retail giant to adopt a combined approach that offered the flexibility to exploit benefits out of both On-Premise and SaaS models. Parablu allowed this organization to mix and match elements in the backup models to allow certain backup workloads to run on-premise, while still allowing others to be hosted in the SaaS cloud.
  • Parablu offered a unique value proposition that did not require any additional investment in terms of storage. Basically, a “zero-storage-cost” option. Parablu’s unique integration with Microsoft 365 enabled this by allowing the retail industry leader to utilize their existing OneDrive for Business storage allocations as a safe and secure backup storage target.
  • The solution was nimble enough to be implemented quickly and get the backup process started almost instantly.  They were quickly able to provide protection and availability of data to all employees including even the remote/mobile workforce. The solution was also sustainable, scalable, and supported older versions of Windows (such as Windows 7 32-bit) and could be rolled out to all employees with minimal concerns around compatibility.
  • BluVault’s ability to create customized backup policies that can be applied to large groups of business users was exactly what this retail giant needed. They recognized that these centrally manageable policies would overcome several limitations that their previous backup strategy had.  BluVault’s policies gave them fine grained access to control exactly which folders to backup (or exclude), which file types to backup (or exclude), set schedules, file size limits etc. – all with a few clicks of the mouse.
  • Apart from the operational benefits that Parablu’s solution had to offer, more important was the industrial-strength encryption of all backed-up data both in transit and rest.  And what’s more, the control over the encryption keys stayed with the business. Not Parablu, or Microsoft or anyone else. This ensured that corporate data stored in the cloud is secure from any unauthorized outsiders, insider threats, and also safe from any possible malicious attacks like ransomware.

The Parablu Fix – A Bespoke BaaS

  • A hybrid data backup setup – Bespoke BaaS, gave the customer the advantages of both the hosted SaaS as well as the On-premise model. They could now set up tailor-made backup plans for different sets of users. They could offer cloud backups for employees working from home and on-premise backups for employees working from business locations.  All data could still make it’s way to OneDrive for Business – so their backup storage costs still stayed at zero.
  • It enabled the use of their existing OneDrive for Business accounts as endpoint backup targets which meant zero investment in cloud storage.
  • BluVault offered industrial-strength encryption with a strict enforcement of segregation of duties (encryption key control with the customer) assured them that their sensitive backup data is safe and secure in the cloud.
  • The centralized management console equipped the IT team with the power to remotely monitor, manage and control all the endpoint backup and restore activities.
  • Policy-based backups allowed the IT teams to edit policies centrally and then apply them remotely to groups of users – allowing them to set different backup parameters for different sets of endpoints across their multiple workplaces and locations.
  • BluVault’s data protection capabilities ensured that the data is safe not just from external malicious elements like ransomware, but also from insider threats and unintentional data modification or deletion.

What customer says

“Parablu fulfilled our need for a solution that would offer us the flexibility to run backup workloads both locally as well as on the cloud. This helped us enormously during the early days of the pandemic and in dealing with the sudden shift of employees away from offices to homes. Now data from business laptops, desktops, MacBooks etc., is being automatically backed up and we are sure that it is safe and protected in our OneDrive for Business cloud. And Parablu’s ability to use OneDrive for Business as a backup target has saved us hugely in terms of storage costs.”
IT Team Member, India's leading retail company