Case Study: UHY Hacker Young

Using tape backup doesn’t add up for accountants

Using tape backup doesn’t add up for accountants

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UHY Hacker Young are an accountancy group with over 75 staff, based across Letchworth, Royston and Cambridge. Founded in 1862 , they have a strong heritage and excellent reputation for serving clients of all sizes, representing everything from charities to limited companies. In fact, the firm serves over 3000 clients.

As is typical with this line of work, UHY handle increasing volumes of sensitive data every day. The firm once had reams of paperwork in filing cabinets, but now has thousands of gigabytes to manage instead. Nowadays, there are over a hundred devices in the field, as many staff visit their clients on location and take a laptop with them. All this information is stored on twelve virtual servers, split between two physical hosts.

The Challenge

Accountants like UHY are subject to strict regulations. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) asks that personal data is kept for seven years. Payroll data must be kept for ten years. Certain tax cases can request data from as long as fifteen years ago – and UHY need to be able to comply. Any data loss could mean infringement and a heavy fine, so the corruption or loss of even one day’s data could be disastrous!

All of this data needed to be backed up, but their provisions were leaving them at risk. UHY were running an outdated but well-known tape software, and this was a manual task with a large margin for human error; the tapes needed to be changed each and every night by a member of staff. Sometimes, this task fell by the wayside; on more than one occasion, a day’s data was lost. If the server had failed overnight on one of those occasions, the results would have been catastrophic. These tapes then had to be stored off-site, at an additional cost to UHY.

When their server did inevitably fail, UHY would have found that recovering data from tape is incredibly time-consuming. It would have taken several days, and there weren’t any provisions in place to keep staff working whilst a replacement server was found. That would have cost the firm – the average small business in the UK loses around £5,306 per hour of downtime. In addition, UHY never truly tested their disaster recovery solution, which left them vulnerable to data corruption. It was a big concern for Chris Prutton, IT Manager at UHY.

The Solution

That’s where Complete IT came in. The Managed Service Provider (MSP) was called upon as part of a larger upgrade project – but quickly identified that backup was a real ‘Achilles’ Heel’ for these Accountants. If the problem wasn’t tackled, it could mean that a server failure could cause downtime that lasted days rather than hours, and data loss that could lead to a seriously hefty fine.

Prutton says, ‘The Datto has given us assurance that we can recover our data, because we know there’s a copy in the cloud. We were initially attracted to the disaster recovery element of the product, but the backup side has been a ‘Godsend’.

Complete IT recommended a Datto SE10000. It was installed in just a few days, with CIT handling all of the leg-work. The device backs up every hour, which would have been impossible with tape, and without any need for manual maintenance, it’s freed up hours of time for the IT Manager every day. Additionally, Screenshot Verification – a unique Datto technology – means that UHY know that their backups are working and their data is safe.

For the IT team at UHY, the usability and interface of the SIRIS device is a real bonus. Plus, other departments have benefited from the new technology. The payroll bureau truly utilise the Datto device. They are able to test new systems and processes, and be far more progressive, safe in the knowledge that their IT Manager can put things right again without a problem.

“Once, they had me restore their systems three or four times in a day,”

said Prutton.

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