Case Study: Pascack Bank
Pascack Bank Solves Tiered Recovery Requirements Using EVault SaaS enabled Product Suite
Pascack Community Bank opened its doors in 2002 with a goal of becoming the banking alternative in northern Bergen County, New Jersey. The Bank strives to grow its business by taking an old-fashioned approach: Its employees know customers’ names, respond promptly to their requests and offer products and services in an environment that welcomes inquiry and innovation. The results have been very positive. Pascack Community Bank opened two new branches—in Hackensack and Nutley, New Jersey—within a year, and plans to open another shortly.
Its people-first approach doesn’t mean its technology is old-fashioned, however. On the contrary, it is state-of-the art. These days, that can be said to include the ability to protect its data completely and restore it quickly, without risk. But that wasn’t always the case. When IT technology officer Stuart Milstone joined the Bank in January 2008, he found there was work to do to modernize its data backup and recovery capabilities.
Pascack Community Bank was using a commonly-implemented tape based method to back up data. “It was one that many people use, based on tape rotation and manual handling. But it was antiquated and raised a lot of compliance issues,” says Milstone. “I also saw that, when breaking out costs, there were return-on-investment questions.”
“There are two servers at our Westwood office, and a server in each branch handling all data for its individual network, says Milstone. “I wanted to back up data and system information using a single interface.” Compliance was an issue as well. “One of the reasons we switched was that we’re growing, and wanted to be ready to handle all the regulations, such as GLBA,” he adds. “This also ties into our business continuity planning.” Milstone sought a solution that would:
- Eliminate unreliable tape backups and enable automated, tiered data and system protection
- Provide real-time protection of critical data and systems
- Be automated and easy-to-use with Web-based, central control and administration
- Simplify compliance with GLBA and other regulations
The Bank’s tape backup system required someone to physically move tapes in and out of changers, label and log them, and arrange to send to them to an off-site vault for storage. Milstone knew that besides solving the risk and performance issues inherent in these processes, he wanted a new system that would provide for backing up and restoring data quickly and easily, and reduce the need for IT resources. It would let him create a tiered approach, in which the Bank’s most critical data was the first to be backed up, followed by other data in sequence according to its relative importance. Within this Milstone wanted comprehensive, easy-to-use capabilities that would ensure data protection and fast recovery in disaster scenarios — even the ability to perform “bare metal” restores of entire servers quickly, with just a few mouse clicks.
Rapid recovery was another challenge. With its tape-based system, even in the best of circumstances file recovery could take an hour or more. And that assumed that the data would restore correctly once the tape was located, loaded and the file was found. “With tape you never knew if your backup was good until you tried it,” says Milstone. As the Bank grew, Milstone also could see that a tape-based system would become unworkable for satisfying compliance requirements. Besides federal and state regulations, “we have internal retention requirements to satisfy that would be too cumbersome and costly with tapes.”
Milstone performed a vendor search, examining other solutions. “I even considered creating something myself using network attached storage, says Milstone. “A peer of mine at another bank used EVault from EVault™, A Seagate Company, and gave it rave reviews. That’s how I got referred.”
Milstone envisioned the Bank’s new system as a comprehensive solution that would enable onsite and off-site data backup, tiered recovery of its data and systems and nearly continuous protection. His team discussed it in detail with EVault, following the Bank’s business and compliance requirements. Pascack Community Bank selected the EVault SaaS online service for its main backups. “We also back up to an onsite EVault Express Recovery appliance, says Milstone. “It automatically replicates to the EVault backup vault in Scottsdale, Arizona. And our disaster recovery plan incorporates EVault System Restore, which gives us a ‘bare metal recovery’ solution in the event of a disaster,” he adds.
EVault System Restore can also be used even in non-disaster situations to quickly re-establish a complete Windows system—including the operating system and patch/system update files as well as application files—in just minutes. Since its installation in March 2009, Pascack Bank hasn’t had to use it, says Milstone, but “in testing we saw how well it works.” The top level of the Bank’s tiered data protection is applied to documents at corporate headquarters, as they’re being worked on. This is accomplished via EVault’s EVault Real-Time Protection software, which enables a Recovery Point Objective (RPO) as short as every five minutes. “We’ve tested it as well for servers in all the offices, and it works nicely,” says Milstone.
While he hasn’t yet documented the savings in IT resources, Milstone is pleased the Bank entrusted its tiered data and system protection with EVault. “Efficiency has improved immensely. With Web Central Control we can use any PC to quickly see the state of backups. If we need to restore data it can be done in minutes—in much less time than it would take just to locate the right tape,” Millstone says. He adds, “In the branch offices, with tape, someone would have to be there to physically make the backups and restores happen. The savings from that alone are considerable when you do the cost analysis.“
Millstone concludes, “EVault enhances the security of our data. The cost of this solution is miniscule compared to what you might face in legal fees if you lost data, and the peace of mind that we get you can’t put a price on.”