Gammon Construction Closes O365 Backup Gap

Image credit: iStockphoto/Bulat Silvia

The biggest worry about companies transforming themselves into an online business operating model and remote working is data security.

With data no longer within the corporate security perimeters and the business becoming more exposed to data threats, ensuring data security is paramount. But also nearly impossible.

So, the next best thing is to have the right backup and restore process for mission-critical data. And this is where companies are now focusing their attention.

Just ask Gammon Construction. The Hong Kong-based construction giant was speeding up its digital transformation with cloud computing and Microsoft Office 365 (O365).

The company quickly realized that its forays into digital platforms such as building information management (BIM) systems meant that their mission-critical data volume has expanded. 

With numerous remote offices across different construction sites, each with its own file and print server, the company was exposed to ransomware and data theft.

“We have many remote offices — over 50 site offices — which have file and print servers. Hence, maintaining data backup is critical work.  One of the challenges we face is the need to restore the data to the user within a short period so that a good backup tool is very important,” said Joseph Chan, senior manager for information security and operations at Gammon Construction.

Restore speed was becoming vital for Gammon Construction’s operations. One important reason was that O365 could not guarantee a 100% data restore. It meant that the data and information that 4,000 Gammon Construction employees actively collaborate via the cloud are at immediate risk.

“With data growth surging, it was clear that critical data and business continuity were at risk as the native backup of Office 365 could not guarantee 100% data restore during disaster recovery. Hence we adopted a more comprehensive data protection strategy, and the backup solution enables 100% data restore guarantee,” said Chan.

So, Gammon Construction selected Veeam Availability Suite and Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 to safeguard critical data. The O365 backup implementation took around three weeks, while the on-premises backup setup for each office was about three days, excluding the time needed to deliver the hardware.

The new solution also replaced the older one that was not able to restore fast.

“Previously, we needed to restore the whole backup set and then select the requested file, but the previous backup tools meant days or weeks for a full backup and restore. Veeam solution allows us to restore the selected file, which greatly enhances the restore efficiency,” said Chan.

Now with the ability to do daily backups of over 500TB of O365 data with data restore and retrieval within hours, Gammon is pushing ahead on its digital transformation with confidence and enabling an always-on 24/7 operating model. 

The IT team needed at least five days to restore an entire data set from tape archives in the past. Veeam’s file-level restores have made it easy to search for and restore a single file in the database,  shortening each restore process to just a few hours.  

“Our adoption of Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 was very timely as the COVID-19  situation accelerated the need for remote working and real-time data availability. We are glad that Veeam takes care of our data in the cloud, so we have the resources and confidence to focus on building more innovative solutions that will revolutionize our construction business,” said Chan. 

The Veeam solutions also addressed the needs of BIM, of which Gammon Construction was an early adopter.

The company wanted to digitally integrate the full construction value chain from planning and design to construction, maintenance, and more. But it had to find smarter ways to manage the enormous data volumes that are generated from each construction project with a single BIM model going over 100MB, with some even reaching 1GB.

With these tools in place, Gammon can now prevent disruptions and provide an ‘always-on’ infrastructure to its BIM models despite the large storage volumes.

Image credit: iStockphoto/Bulat Silvia