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Union Sanitary District Achieves Ransomware Defense with Veeam + Wasabi Object Lock

"“For a long time, the high cost of storage prevented us from keeping our data offsite where it would be better protected from hackers. So not only did Wasabi’s price point allow us to begin moving our data to the cloud, but their immutability support was crucial for our data protection strategy regarding ransomware defense.” "

— Mike Gill, Network Administrator, Union Sanitary District

Overview

Union Sanitary District operates a 33-acre wastewater treatment facility in Union City, California and provides collection, treatment and disposal services to a total population of over 356,000 in Fremont, Newark and Union City, California.

Challenge

With the continued rise of ransomware attacks, Union Sanitary District (USD) wanted to take a more proactive approach to preventing any data loss to keep their business running in the event that their systems were compromised. “A lot of local governments have been hit in our area. It was one of the main drivers toward improving our security,” said Michael Gill, Network Administrator at USD. With over a quarter million people depending on Union Sanitary District’s services, it was essential that operations not be interrupted for any length of time. Union City first hardened their infrastructure according to Veeam best practices but wanted to go a step further with offsiting data and enabling immutability. They understood that hackers attack all on premises resources, which includes primary and backup data storage. By storing a copy with Wasabi, they would prevent backups from being impacted as soon as they are written and moved off site.

Solution: Veeam Backup & Replication + Wasabi Object Lock

As the USD IT team began crafting their ransomware solution, they knew immutability and decentralization would be essential. Through Wasabi’s partnership with Veeam, Union Sanitary District was able to meet both of these goals. As a Veeam customer, Gill can easily secure USD’s backups with object-level immutability using Wasabi S3 Object Lock, which can be easily enabled within the Veeam interface. Immutable data cannot be altered or deleted during a user-defined retention period, making it impervious to encryption or the threat of deletion by cybercriminals during a ransomware attack. The backups are stored offsite in one of Wasabi’s globally dispersed data center locations for an additional layer of protection. Union Sanitary District’s Grandfather-Father-Son (GFS) backups strategy gives them up to 2-years of immutable backups to restore from.

Results

The Veeam Scale Out Backup Repository and cloud storage made the integration of putting data in the cloud very straightforward. It not only allowed Union Sanitary District to enable immutability with a simple check box, but also allowed for considerable cost savings on long-term retention with Wasabi’s low cost per TB. It took 10 minutes to get Wasabi set up and integrated into their Veeam Backup & Replication environment with the streamlined GUI saving days of operational overhead compared to some other cloud solutions considered.