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Beach Municipal Federal Credit Union


Credit Union Selects Axcient for Disaster Recovery and Compliance

The Beach Municipal Federal Credit Union has been offering checking and savings accounts, loans, mortgages and credit cards at affordable rates and friendly customer service to the Virginia Beach community for more than 40 years.
Beach Municipal FCU is a member of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and is regulated by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), forcing them to follow strict guidelines and regulations when it comes to member data and services availability. Compliance with regulations involve implementing a disaster recovery plan and protecting member data both onsite and offsite.

Evaluating Disaster Recovery Solutions

The first thing Information Systems Manager Michael Sikorski did when he joined the credit union was to assess its disaster recovery initiative. What he discovered was that the company was using two different solutions: an old version of Symantec Backup Exec that did backup to tape and Acronis for image-based backups, both of which were extremely unreliable and required an excessive amount of time to manage. For Michael, the knowledge that Beach Municipal would be unable to recovery quickly in the event of a disaster meant that it was time to make a switch.

As a small credit union, Beach Municipal was looking for the best combination of quick RTO and low financial investment. The time to recover was a critical factor, as interruption in member services had to be minimal. “We can’t afford to have critical services down in a financial services company like ours,” Michael said. “Regulations aside, our members need to feel secure that their data is secure and available and we didn’t get that with our previous solutions.”

Michael’s search began with an evaluation of a series of vendors such as Achieve1, Barracuda, Veeam and Axcient.
But the backup and restore operations offering of a managed service such as Achieve1 was not what Michael was looking for. “I really needed a solution that I could use myself because of the sensitive nature of the data that my team and I deal with,” Michael said. “My team has all gone through extensive background checks and I don’t know that the staff of that vendor went through the same rigorous screening. ”

Barracuda seemed like a good option for the short term due to pricing, but it didn’t have everything that Beach Municipal needed. “Backup data is stored in the local appliance and data can be sent to the cloud, but Barracuda was not an enterprise-class solution and it was very limited,” Michael said. “Barracuda backs up data but you can’t failover locally or in the cloud so I would have to restore to another server and the RTO just proved too long. It’s not a true disaster recovery solution and that’s something that I can’t compromise on.”

Michael said Veeam was quickly ruled out as an option because he would have to supply his own hardware for replication, and it was not as easy to manage as Axcient.

Michael found the solution he was looking for in Axcient. As with any financial institution, security is always top of mind for Beach Municipal and Axcient was able to fulfill the credit union’s needs with an onsite appliance and off-site security via the

Axcient cloud, which is based on an SSAE-16 certified data center.

Another reason Michael likes Axcient is that he can test restore and recovery operations on his own and without interrupting production systems. “Testing was very easy,” Michael said. “I can load the VM, poke at it, reboot it, and do whatever I want. It’s just very comforting to know that if the server does ever die, I can virtualize the server or my entire office locally or in the cloud. Axcient’s simplicity is unmatched and I know my data is secure.”

Putting It To The Test

Municipal Beach has critical servers running key applications and several critical workstations. When one of those workstations began to show signs of failure by recording hard drive errors Michael protected the workstation using Axcient and called Dell to order a new hard drive. As luck would have it, only a couple days later, the workstation failed to start and it wouldn’t work at all.

Rebuilding the workstation from scratch meant installing the operating system again, and all the key software required to run financial applications. It would have required installing specific versions of certain drivers, the Internet browser, of taking a series of steps to configure it all and ensure it would work. “I thankfully didn’t have to go through this process because I swapped the hard drive for a new one and did a Bare Metal Restore using Axcient,” Michael said. “Without Axcient it would have taken a full day to get the user back working. With Axcient it only took two hours.”

Ready for Anything

Beach Municipal FCU had a few key criteria in mind when it started looking for a disaster recovery solution. It had to provide an RTO (the time it takes to recover from a disaster and be fully operational) of less than 1 hour, had to be a self-service solution with top security, had to be easy to use and self-servicing, and had to allow for easy disaster recovery testing without any additional fees. Axcient met them all with flying colors.
“As a financial services organization, you have to be prepared for when something happens, whether your server is healthy or not,” Michael said. With Axcient I have one solution that can mitigate all disaster scenarios. I strongly suggest looking at Axcient for your disaster recovery needs.”

READ MORE in the full PDF.


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