TrustFord has implemented Druva technology to create a holistic approach to data protection that provides a solid platform for further digitization.
Andy Pocock, IT director at TrustFord, is undertaking a digital transformation programme at the company, which is the largest Ford-dedicated dealer group for new and used cars, vans, servicing and repairs. As part of this transformation initiative, he has implemented Druva’s SaaS-based data protection platform. Pocock says the big benefit of this technology is that it helps him sleep soundly at night. He explains:
We moved from a technology that was clunky. It was pretty much the opposite of light-touch. We backed up to our own environment, so source and object backup data was on-premises. That was not what we wanted to continue. So, when we were looking for a different technology, we engaged with Druva.
Pocock, who spoke with diginomica at Druva’s illuminate22 Data Resiliency Roadshow in London, says the software-as-a-solution (SaaS) approach is key. Rather than having to rely on a hardware and software-based back-up solution, TrustFord uses SaaS to create what he refers to as an “air gap” between the company’s physical locations and its off-site back-ups. Pocock adds:
It delivered off-premises back-up, so that introduced an air gap between source and object. That’s important to us because it gave us the resilience between different environments. It mitigates the risk.
Pocock says Druva’s technology has delivered a range of other benefits for the business. Rather than being reliant on a clunky system, the company now has access to a much more straightforward data back-up technology:
After the initial back-up, it really is light-touch – and it's incremental as well. My laptop will back-up remotely two or three times a day and the only impact it has on me is that a little box pops up to tell me that the back-up has started and ended.
He says Druva provides reassurance that he’s backing up his colleagues’ 850 laptops-worth of data effectively, and he knows they can get that data back whenever they want. The technology also provides a self-service portal. This ease-of-use proved crucial recently, when a fire at one of the firm’s facilities in Tamworth caused huge challenges. Pocock says:
That location is totally trashed. Everyone's safe, thankfully. But we lost some laptops. However, I could see that the laptop was backed up. We provided our people with a new piece of hardware. And they restored all their files themselves and they were operational within 24 hours.
Moving to a subscription model
Pocock says TrustFord selected Druva at the beginning of 2021 after a standard procurement process with three providers, including the incumbent specialist, Veeam. He explains:
We were looking for those capabilities – remote air gap, ease of use, and cost. It was a pretty standard beauty parade and Druva ticked the boxes for us.
He says TrustFord has been running Druva’s InSync product, which is a remote back-up service for endpoints, for 18 months. The company is just about to deploy Phoenix, which will provide back-ups for the company’s on-premises server and file-storage environment. In the future, as part of TrustFord’s continuing digital transformation plans, the IT team will start to think about how the company will back up cloud-based data. Pocock explains:
We just moved to Office 365 in the cloud this year. And we will take a look next year probably at transitioning that data into the same Druva environment and backing that cloud data up. We hold data in lots of different places. We've got partnerships and all our partners will hold some of our data in their applications.
Pocock says one of the main challenges of the transition to Druva’s SaaS technology was moving from a CapEx to a subscription-based model. With support from the top of the company, that shift has been more straightforward than might have been anticipated. He adds:
I've got a CEO and board that are very supportive of our strategy for data resilience and the protection of information. They're right on board with it and I’ve got total buy-in. People get it, they understand it, and it helps them budget.
More generally, Pocock says there’s a large amount of discussion in the motor trade about the number of times people have to visit a showroom before purchasing a vehicle. Traditionally, that might be as many as seven or eight times, where customers come and look at vehicles, pick up a brochure, talk about finance deals, and finally make a decision. Pocock says digitization can help TrustFord to potentially reduce that number of interactions to zero. He adds:
We want to reduce that time as much as the customer wants. So, in theory, our target is to be able to conduct the sale completely touchless, so the only time that we physically press the flesh is when you hand the vehicle over.
Pocock says there’s a general move towards digitizing processes at TrustFord. He gives the example of the COVID-19 pandemic, where the company’s sales team had to conduct its processes remotely because customers weren't allowed to visit a showroom. The team had to use a range of socially distanced methods – including phone and video conferencing – to deal with customer requirements off site. Lessons learnt from that digitization process are now being used to help support a permanent shift in the digitization of customer services. Pocock says:
We've implemented video engagement with customers for sales and service. We’ve created video-based walk-arounds of vehicles for customers who want to see our products. We’re also introducing a digital-signing process to enable customers to sign deals and any paperwork that they need to off site.
When it comes to advice for other IT and business leaders who are thinking about using Druva technology, Pocock says it’s important to think very carefully about potential use cases. He explains:
Understand, for instance, where are your high-value applications. Where is your valuable data held? Is it resident in on-premises storage or is it off premises? Understand how the different Druva applications could work for you. For us, IT is an expensive resource. We need to make sure the investment is prioritised. The advice from me is to think about where your priorities are to protect your data – and that's where your focus and your investment should be initially.