CASE STUDY

Charles Darwin University Empowers Remote Learners with Secure, Compliant Microsoft 365 Backups

November 16, 2023By Carson Barcome

In the vast Northern Territory of Australia, Charles Darwin University (CDU) prides itself on delivering education to remote communities. With 70% of its students never setting foot on campus, the need for a robust digital backbone is paramount. CDU sought a reliable partner for their Office 365 cloud backup and recovery.

Charles Darwin University Navigates Cloud Transition and Data Security Challenges for Remote Access Growth 

As CDU’s student base grew, especially those accessing the institution from remote locations, the importance of having an agile, efficient, and secure IT backbone became increasingly evident. According to Scott Beven, the Deputy Director of IT Delivery at CDU, the journey of transitioning to the cloud—although promising in potential benefits—was laden with challenges. CDU not only required a robust cloud backup and recovery solution for their Office 365 data but also needed one that seamlessly integrated with their existing infrastructure. 

Moreover, compliance with regional regulations, such as the NT Information Act, added another layer of complexity to their quest. They required a partner that not only understood the technical intricacies but also appreciated the sensitive nature of student data.

However, finding a holistic solution that was both cost-effective and met their specific needs became challenging. CDU needed a partner that would provide them with peace of mind in data integrity, allow for scalability, and fit comfortably within their budget constraints, all while ensuring utmost compliance with local regulations. 

Charles Darwin University Chooses Wasabi for Streamlined Cloud Solution  

When looking for a cloud storage solution, Wasabi stood out to Beven and the IT team at CDU, not just with its strong technological offerings but also with its robust technology alliance network. Wasabi’s unique selling proposition was its simplicity, both in terms of setup and cost predictability. 

CDU was particularly impressed with the ease of the onboarding process. The proof of concept stage, which can often be cumbersome with many providers, was streamlined with Wasabi. Moreover, Wasabi’s infrastructure provided a comprehensive dashboard, enabling CDU’s storage engineers to manage data effectively. This ease of use meant a shorter learning curve and more time dedicated to what CDU does best—delivering quality education to its students. Wasabi’s strong presence in Australia ensured that CDU could easily meet the stringent requirements set by regional regulations, especially the NT Information Act. The partnership also extended to the integration of Veeam, further solidifying the robustness of CDU’s backup-to-cloud strategy. With Wasabi, Charles Darwin University found more than just a solution; they found a reliable partner for their institution.  

Wasabi Provides Cost-Efficiency and Enhanced Data Security of Student Data 

The partnership with Wasabi quickly translated into tangible results for CDU. The most immediate outcome was the drastic reduction in overall costs, particularly now that they could predictably budget on cloud storage without the burden of egress fees. “Ingress and egress fees can get very complicated and expensive, especially if you need to restore objects across your organization,” said Beven. “Wasabi’s solution is easy to use compared to many of the other offerings we looked at. It’s easy for me to calculate cost, budget for it, and then roadmap for increased use of the service as we go along.” 

But more than just the cost savings, the university reaped the benefits of heightened data assurance. In an era where ransomware attacks are a persistent threat, the ability to securely segment backups from their host in Azure was invaluable. The robustness of Wasabi’s infrastructure instilled a newfound confidence in CDU’s ability to protect their remote students’ data. In addition, the granular restoration ability provided by the Veeam-Wasabi combination empowered CDU with unprecedented flexibility. Instead of restoring an entire VM or folder, specific files could be pinpointed, resulting in efficiency and minimal data disruption.  

Beven emphasized that Wasabi brought assurance to CDU’s board and senior executives. Overall, knowing that students’ data is safeguarded with the highest standards of security and compliance was highly important. This trust and confidence culminated in CDU successfully achieving their operational needs and delivering uninterrupted, quality education to their vast student base. 

What's Next for Charles Darwin University? 

For CDU, the horizon looks promising with the solid foundation built alongside Wasabi. The next phase, Beven noted, will involve diving deep into traditional network share data, transforming it into a cloud-based solution optimized for both access and immutability. CDU also has plans to integrate more of their bespoke systems into a centralized data management platform for ease of access and monitoring. 

Ultimately, the relationship between CDU and Wasabi has gotten off to a very strong start and is poised to enter an era of greater collaboration, innovation, and mutual growth. “Dealing with large vendors in this space can be quite a taxing experience, but we didn't find that with Wasabi,” said Beven. “We really felt like we got their personal attention and that Wasabi has an interest in helping us rather than just selling me a block of storage and a network communication ingress-egress system.” 

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