Case Study – CSU
With offices across the country and more than 25,000 employees in a wide variety of roles, IT support at CSU is a challenging task. Christiaan de Geest has been working for the organization for thirteen years and, in 2019, was appointed to the position of Security & Compliance Officer.
During that same period, CSU launched a large-scale project to move its own on-site IT infrastructure to the cloud and outsource certain aspects of operations management.
In de Geest’s words, “We are in the process of migrating to the cloud as many IT solutions as possible…including the migration to Office 365. IT has become a commodity, and we believe that we as a company can deliver added value to our employees by enhancing the support they receive with business-related processes. We expect to shut down our own data center within a year.”
At CSU, around 1,300 employees use productivity tools. The other employees use the planning and quality control tools via mobile apps on smartphones and tablets.
Most workplace solutions were originally offered as Citrix virtual desktops, but these have now been replaced by SaaS solutions in combination with Office 365.
“Our employees have to be able to work anytime and anywhere and have access to their files when required,” said de Geest. “For example, it shouldn’t be necessary for someone to go to the office once a week just to do their paperwork. They should also be able to do this remotely. Solutions like Office 365 ensure we can offer our employees a modern working environment. …Microsoft Teams, for example, is extremely popular and spreading like wildfire through our organization.”
Microsoft Teams is one of the fastest-growing solutions in business environments. It essentially offers a modern interface, where online collaboration via chat, audio, video and online versions of Microsoft Office is key.
“We are still using a few physical file share programs, but much of our data is already in the cloud – including our e-mail environment,” said de Geest. “We are also putting more and more files in Teams, because it is much easier to work together. It also prevents all sorts of different versions of files from being circulated via e-mail.”
The AvePoint Solution
As more and more of CSU’s business data moved to the cloud and Microsoft Teams, the need for a suitable backup solution became more urgent. Following extensive market research, De Geest says there was only one viable solution.
“We were looking for a provider that could back up the entire Office 365 suite with greater functionality than is offered natively by Microsoft. AvePoint turned out to be the best provider for us, mainly because they are the only one that supports a full backup of Microsoft Teams, with a retention period as long as you require.”
An extra challenge for CSU was that the company does not work in months, but in four-week periods.
“That’s a challenge for many backup solutions, because they work only on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. In our case, all data is backed up twice a day using AvePoint’s Cloud Backup. We store every period for one year and the annual backup is stored for tax purposes for seven years,” said de Geest.
According to De Geest, recoveries are required only about once a month, usually when an employee has accidentally deleted a file or e-mail.
But the key benefits are the reliable and long-term backup of all data, the ability to retrieve individual files and e-mails, and enhanced user-friendliness.
“Users can already retrieve many files themselves, but a real recovery job remains a job for the IT team,” says de Geest. “AvePoint makes this whole process a lot faster and easier than ever before. It really is an incredibly easy tool to use. You log into the portal and even the least tech-savvy person can use it. It couldn’t be any more self-explanatory.”
AvePoint’s solution also impressed the organization, which is responsible for many of CSU’s management tasks.
“They were using a different backup tool, but when we asked them to take a look at AvePoint to potentially take over managing their backup, they were pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to use. They are now managing this for us too,” said de Geest.
The Bottom Line
de Geest is delighted with AvePoint Cloud Backup and the partnership with the Dutch branch of the company.
“AvePoint is a rapidly growing company, but a few years ago it was still a relative unknown in the Netherlands. I was stepping into the unknown, which was a bit daunting at the time,” said de Geest. “However, the backup solution they provide to CSU is not only the best solution, but also extremely fast and user-friendly. And on top of that, the Dutch team is highly responsive. We only have to call and they are ready to help us. It’s SaaS, but with a human face.”
The CSU Group
The CSU Group provides cleaning and home care services, employing more than 25,000 people at twelve branches across the Netherlands. CSU offers a wide range of cleaning services in different sectors including healthcare, education, and business services.
It also has a home care division, which focuses on all non-medical help at home. In 2017, the CSU Group launched a large-scale IT transition to the cloud, whereby it opted to use Office 365 and cloud back-up by AvePoint.
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