Taking care of and securing These Days’ Netapp environment

Taking care of and securing These Days’ Netapp environment

“We’ve hired some of Uptime Group’s expert centers to get more expertise about wifi, switching and VMware.”

These Days is a communication agency that is part of the British advertising and PR group WPP. They have offices in Antwerp, Brussels and Amsterdam and have about 160 employees. They mainly focus on digital communications, which automatically means IT is a determining factor. With regards to the general IT management These Days works with a framework contract that is managed internationally by the WPP Group. “We keep managing the most critical parts” says Sam Serrien, CTO at These Days. The company’s NetApp- environment, which has been supported by one of Uptime Group’s expert centers, is key to this set-up. “We depend greatly on our IT. Business availability is a must. And that’s the reason why we have chosen for the support of Uptime Group’s expert centers. If needed, we know we can count on them for quick interventions.”

Since the Summer of 2017 These Days have been confronted with the fact that IT is critical for their company. An outbreak of Petya ransomware managed to hit the WPP Group and consequently ended up at These Days. “All the offices within the group are connected”, explains Sam Serrien. “The malware spread really fast. In a few hours’ time, the whole group got contaminated.” These Days took immediate action and contacted Uptime Group’s expert center to do damage control. They also looked at the damage that had been done and started the recovery. “When we saw the damage that this malware had done, we expected to be out of business for at least a couple of weeks but the expert center managed to repair 80% of all servers, computers and files after just one day.”

Tangible return

Right before the incident, These Days had planned the creation of a NetApp-environment as the existing storage needed upgrading and expanding. After the encounter with Petya, things had to be resolved more rapidly. “The incident made it very obvious how our business processes are relying on IT”, says Sam Serrien. “In the past, the ROI of an investment or infrastructure and safety wasn’t always tangible. The incident has made it clear that IT needs the attention and means it deserves.”

The incident turned out to be an excellent test case for the IT service These Days needs to count on. “You obviously don’t want to have to use any of the existing plans for interventions and disaster recovery. It’s clear from what we’ve been through that you need a good partner that can do the impossible.” It also proved to be extremely practical that the expert center from Uptime Group had access to other expert centers within the group, because they have all the knowledge available. “We’ve hired more expertise via Uptime Group with regards to wifi, switching and VMware.”

Heroes

These Days doesn’t manage all their IT aspects. That has never been the company’s ambition either. “But we do find it extremely important to have an expert partner and direct line available in case of any issues”, says Sam Serrien. And the most important and critical things for our business, we like to keep close.” For all virtual servers and business critical data (such as customer information and financial data) These Days is working with a system that will regularly take snapshots of the environment. “This approach seems to work very efficiently. In the end we didn’t lose any of the company critical data or applications during the ransomware incident.”

The old NetApp environment (with a capacity of 40TB) made room for a new installation that has a capacity of 160TB. “We should be able to run it for the next couple of years without any issues”, Sam Serrien continues. “Additionally, we can count on Uptime Group’s expert center to get the highest level of support for our NetApp environment.” WPP Group wasn’t the only company that dealt with Petya. “Thanks to Uptime Group and their expert center we were one of the only few (if not the only) that was up and running a day after the incident, using the most important business critical data. We managed to continue our work whilst the restore was still happening. Uptime Group’s expert center we’re treated as heroes. First class support!”

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