The city of Clemson, South Carolina takes great pride in our community. We have a unique “hometown” feel that is intermingled with diverse restaurants and shops, breathtaking scenery, and our world class Clemson University – that together make Clemson a sought after place to live, work and visit. 
As IT manager for the city of Clemson, I am tasked with making sure that the technology driving our city’s operations is well-maintained and in line with our continued vision of growth and development. An important part of that is the ability to ensure business continuity and to know that critical data is fully protected and recoverable, even during unplanned outages and disasters.
When we were looking for a solution, I knew we needed something that was turnkey. I am a one person IT shop so there’s not a lot of time to devote to managing the various applications we have. We found what we were looking for through a managed services delivery model that gives us an affordable web-based continuity and recovery solution that doesn’t require any additional IT resources on our end. The solution  was delivered through a service team that included Synnex as the distributor, DS3 DataVaulting as the managed services solution provider, and Integral Solutions Group/Digital DNS as the local implementer. With this approach, we had the opportunity to implement a very efficient and secure strategy while being able to manage other things more effectively as well. The learning curve was also very short and easy.
In addition, the worry about tapes is eliminated. This newest trend of backing up and restoring data in a flexible online/off-site environment is becoming the method of choice for many commercial and government organizations like ours. It works simply through a local cache that, in the event of an outage, enables us to pull data using any browser while also knowing that it’s securely backed up off-site. The term “outage” is key because it’s not just about hurricanes and earthquakes. Most downtime occurs because of less severe but more frequent reasons, such as temporary electrical outages or server failures. And, of course, planned downtime is a necessary part of maintenance. With the virtualized approach that we use through our managed services channel, we know that we have a local partner to manage the recovery process, a world class distributor and solution provider that stand behind our solution, and the ubiquitous Internet that gives us flexible access when needed. It’s a win win across the board.
This approach also ensured fast startup within budget. I didn’t have to worry about complicated installations or, even worse, in-house development. We were up and running in 30 days from the time I started talking to our partners. That kind of benchmark is important to us as we continue to look at how to take advantage of these kinds of flexible technology solutions. In addition, although we’re mostly focused on our mission-critical data, we were in the driver’s seat from day one. We also care about noncritical information like email, so we added those components to the mix. It’s tiered the way we want it to be, with the most important data ready for recovery in an instant while the other information is securely protected offsite and easily recoverable when needed.
My advice to other rapidly growing cities and organizations like ours that are seeking an effective business continuity and disaster recovery system is to look around your IT department and ask: “Do I have the time and in-house resources to handle this myself?” The answer is most likely “no.” And even if you do, would the expertise be there to ensure the solution really works? By going the managed services approach with a fully virtualized system, I stayed within budget and ahead of schedule, while being undoubtedly assured that it does work, and works well – for the long term. 

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