In our recent Edge virtual event webcasts, Greg White (@GregoryDWhite) from product marketing was joined by Lisa Romine of Acxiom, senior manager of enterprise solutions. Lisa discussed real-world use cases and experiences protecting distributed workers’ data in a secure environment and simplifying OS migrations for her IT team. In the process, she provided self-service recovery and access for end users. In a previous blog, I described key mobility and data protection trends provided by Rachel Dines, senior analyst at Forrester.
Real-world deployment with Acxiom
Acxiom is an enterprise data, analytics and software as a service company that enables marketers to successfully manage audiences, personalize consumer experiences and create profitable consumer relationships. The company also provides IT services to organizations that must improve operations, reduce costs and increase speed and agility. Every week, Acxiom powers more than a trillion transactions that enable better results for 7,000+ global clients. The IT team manages over 35,000 mainframe MIPS, 25,000 servers and over 15,000 databases. The company, headquartered in Little Rock, AR, has locations across the U.S. and around the world.
Acxiom deployed the CommVault Edge™ solution in March 2013 to protect corporate desktops and laptops, support an OS migration and provide employees self-service access to their business data. The highlights:
Data was locked down
- Acxiom launched a security initiative to lockdown DVDs and USB ports to prevent data leaving end user devices. They were considering expanding their network directory resources for users to back up their data.
- This resulted in limitations to what users could do for protecting their data, causing frustration.
- There were costs associated with increasing networked drive capabilities and it was not the least intrusive process for remote employees.
Using CommVault Edge Protection and Access
- Acxiom began deploying CommVault Edge about 3-4 months ago and is now backing up 3,000-4,000 laptops, workstations
- Acxiom plans to double the number of laptops being protected to 6,000+ with continued rollout in Europe and APAC
The follow-up Q&A with Lisa Romine and her recommendations included:
- First steps? Start with high-risk users. Drive adoption by identifying internal champions and focus on training, feedback, and other use cases
- Windows XP to Windows 7 Migration - what kind of feedback have you received from end users? Is there anything you would do differently next time? Acxiom wouldn’t necessarily do anything different next time. End users have provided positive feedback as their data is being backed up. They no longer have to keep up with their data to ensure everything they want or need is backed up.
- How has the new migration process helped with the shipping of employee devices? Several Acxiom employees are located offsite or are home-based and are still running Windows XP on their laptops or desktops. Prior to using CommVault Edge, remote Acxiom employees had to overnight ship their computer to the IT department , which would then re-image it and upgrade it to Windows 7, then overnight ship it back to the employee. With CommVault, Acxiom deploys CommVault Edge on the remote XP machine to back it up. Acxiom then restores the data on the new Windows 7 computer and sends it to the remote worker with regular shipping. The remote worker ships back their old machine to Acxiom using regular shipping as well, saving the company money and reducing the downtime impact to the user.
- It seems like a solution like this might make workers change their old habits – how do you have them change their processes?
- Change 1: The biggest change for Acxiom employees was making them lock down USB drives. Employees were accustomed to moving data to that device freely, which was a security issue for the business.
- Change 2: Acxiom doesn’t back up all files (for example, movies or personal photos), so there has been a learning curve for employees in educating them about what data is and isn’t backed up. It’s important to educate your employees throughout this process.
- Change 3: Getting Acxiom employees out of mindset that they must keep up with their own data on a USB drive. (With Edge, they have easy access to company data and there is no longer any need to carry around a USB drive)
- What’s the growth rate of your data you’ll need to back up? Acxiom hasn’t yet finished its rollout and so doesn’t have statistics to know what the growth rate is going to be. By end of year, Acxiom should have a better idea of what its normal usage is. There are a lot of variables currently in play: Windows XP/Windows 7 migrations, employees learning what is/isn’t being backed up, what they can/can’t keep, etc. CommVault’s Health Check Report has helped Acxiom manage data and costs because it keeps the company updated on how much data volume they are using, to make sure they haven’t gone over agreement.
What are your corporate policies for laptop backup and document access? Are you syncing files between devices? In a future post, we’ll also talk about backup and self-service access options using a third-party services provider.