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Healthcare Group Trusts Symantec to Protect Sensitive Information

Posted on Behalf of Scott Gould, Senior Network and Systems Analyst, Gynecological Oncology Group's Statistical Data Center

When a couple with young children starts shopping for a new car, what do you think will be at the top of their list? Speed? Resale value? The stereo system? These features might all be important to them, but chances are safety will be their first concern. Similarly, it’s easy to get caught up in new technologies today, like cloud computing, virtualization and mobile devices. It’s easy to see all the advantages these trends can provide without thinking about how they will affect our ability to keep our information safe and available. For healthcare organizations in particular, the need to protect personal information goes hand in hand with providing quality patient care. Industry regulations are becoming increasingly strict, and reports of data breaches are frequently in the news. But while they’re challenging, these technologies also present us with new opportunities to protect and access important information.

The Gynecological Oncology Group (GOG) is a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting data used to treat gynecological cancers, and we have more than 10,000 members at 700 institutions collaborating to gather important information. To help create a central repository of our knowledge, we implemented a cluster of virtual servers running databases and a storage area network. While this was helpful for our collaborative needs, we noticed that our backup system wasn’t working the way we would like. In order to do a granular restore and restore a virtual machine, for example, our IT staff had to run two separate backups.

We decided to find a new backup solution, and we ended up choosing Symantec Backup Exec to meet our needs. One of the features that most appealed to us was its one-pass backup capability, allowing us to use a single backup of a virtual machine to restore either an entire machine or select files from either Windows or Linux servers.

The upcoming capabilities of BE 2012 V-Ray Edition had so much potential that we jumped at the opportunity to participate in the beta testing and were very pleased with our experience. In fact, we installed the beta software to use on live data in our statistical data center.

Backup Exec 2012 has proven easy enough to use that even untrained members of our team have been able to restore information without assistance. It’s been ideal for our data restoration needs, allowing us to easily restore a single machine rather than deal with whole storage volumes every time. We have also utilized Backup Exec’s bare-metal restore capability to restore both physical and virtual machines to virtual platforms.

One of the most important benefits we are seeing is the time savings. It takes us less than 10 minutes per day to manage our backups. Combining Backup Exec 2012 with our hardware results in a powerful tool to protect our information. And with Symantec’s help as we began the beta testing, we were up and running quickly.

Instead of trying to make a choice between the safety and availability of our information, we can take advantage of today’s technology to get the best of both worlds. Symantec’s backup tools give us the reassurance that the information we are creating and storing will be safe so we can meet our ultimate goal – helping save lives.