case study

Sharp helps Reading Buses remain operational with backup procedures, cloud technologies, and a Disaster Recovery Solution.

Reading Buses provides a 24/7 service for the residents, workers and visitors of one of the UK’s largest towns. With over 150 buses and over 400 drivers to co-ordinate, the control team faces a complicated ‘jigsaw’ of routes and rotas which they need to put together. Staff use sophisticated, industry-specific software to plan who drives where and when. By partnering with Sharp, Reading Buses have managed to be unaffected by malicious software and downtime, ensuring they can keep delivering a great service to customers.

The Challenge
• Insufficient anti-virus protection
• Ransomware emails filtering through to inboxes
• Cannot disregard emails from unknown senders

Reading Buses work as proactively as they can, so rotas are created well in advance. Nevertheless, even a few hours of downtime would cause a knock-on effect which would seriously cost them and affect the SLAs they have with their partners.

One consistent bump in the road has been ransomware. Although Reading Buses has anti-virus, the hackers are often ahead of the game and know how to worm their way through. Reading Buses can’t disregard emails from unknown senders as they receive many enquiries from their customers 
and suppliers.

The Solution
• Datto Disaster Recovery Solution
Hybrid cloud technology
• Comprehensive business continuity service

Sharp proposed Datto, which uses hybrid cloud technology. This would duplicate Reading Buses’ data to both the Datto Cloud and an on-site device every fifteen minutes. Plus, Datto only backs up what’s changed (a technology called ‘Inverse Chain’) so there would be no strain on their connection.

Datto offers a robust Disaster Recovery (DR) solution that replicates your IT infrastructure both on-site and in the cloud. In the face of a major outage or disaster whether man-made, accidental, or caused by human error, you have the flexibility to swiftly restore or reboot from a local image. Alternatively, you can operate seamlessly from other hardware using the image in the cloud while your infrastructure gets re-established. 

Datto is a full backup, disaster recovery and business continuity service that is visible, scalable and affordable. If quick recovery of systems is a priority, then Datto will provide a single, simple solution.

The Result
• Consolidated backup technologies into one system
• Swift recovery from a ransomware attack
• Bi-monthly test to measure the solution’s effectiveness

Initially, only Reading Buses’ critical systems – which included scheduling applications – were backed up by Datto but Mark Price, IT Manager at Reading Buses saw the benefit of a consolidated system. “We wanted to upgrade and bring all of our backup technologies into one.” Reading Buses upgraded their device to a Datto SIRIS 3 6000 – which offers 3TB of local storage. Now, all aspects of the business, such as vehicle maintenance and payroll, are safe.

Datto proved its worth when a ransomware strain called ‘Locky’ threatened to put the brakes on operations. Arriving as an email attachment, Locky quickly encrypted not only the user’s machine but also all shared locations that the user had access to. With Datto, it was easy for Sharp to locate the infected files, delete them and restore the files from the backup without affecting Reading Buses. And a Disaster Recovery Plan isn’t a plan until it’s been tested and proven. That’s why Sharp and Reading Buses run a full DR test every six months.

“For us, a key factor is the speed of recovery. We know that if there was a major disaster, like a fire, it would take 48 hours to replace our hardware. Datto means we don’t have to worry about that,” Mark adds.

“Our customers aren’t affected, we don’t lose revenue, and our reputation is safe. Datto restores systems and data very quickly and also eradicates the need for any ‘running around retrieving backup tapes’ too.”

Mark Price, IT Manager, Reading Buses