WJE Switches to AvePoint Cloud Backup for Better Control, Reporting, and Usability to Back Up 3 TB of Data

Success Highlights

Easy deployment of AvePoint Cloud Backup
Timely, reliable backup reports
Broader backup capacities in M365, including Microsoft Planner
Successfully moved on-premises SharePoint data to SharePoint Online
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Customer Location Northbrook, Illinois

Industry Engineering

Platform Microsoft 365

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Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates (WJE) is a global firm of engineers, architects, and materials scientists committed to helping clients solve, repair, and avoid problems in the built world. With approximately 700 employees across 30 offices, WJE has extended the life of countless structures, improved the construction industry's understanding of why structures fail, and formulated numerous ways in which they can be preserved.

Critical Needs

  • Data protection and backup in M365
  • Ability to choose backup scope by workspace
  • Alerts to detect and resolve problems
  • Recovery and restore

The Challenge

A massive shift to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic reminded WJE leaders about the value of reliable backup as home-based employees were creating more data in Microsoft 365.

“We had such a boom in Microsoft Teams adoption; we’re over 1,000 Teams now,” said Gary Gregory, the firm’s chief information officer. “We needed to have the right kind of infrastructure in place to make sure people didn’t lose valuable data and information.”

But the issue wasn’t new. WJE already had a backup solution in place for several years, but the provider’s abilities were deemed inadequate.

“We weren’t satisfied with the results,” said Mohammed Khan, a SharePoint architect at WJE, who cited breakdowns in service and communication. “Certain Teams channels were supposed to back up, and they didn’t. Even if a channel was backed up, some files within that channel were not being backed up.”

Those discoveries, he added, were made in June 2020 during the height of the pandemic.

“We weren’t getting notifications from our previous provider for any kind of failures, so we wouldn’t have known if anything was wrong,” Khan said. “In the report that the tool provided, everything seemed OK on the surface — but once you started to dig deep, it became a concern.”

The firm also needed assurance that a replacement solution could seamlessly handle backup needs as M365 offerings evolved.

“With the Microsoft cloud, there’s a constant change in the API,” said Khan. “For a backup solution to be viable, you have to keep up to date with those changes.”

With frequent release cycles and participation on Microsoft Product Advisory Councils, AvePoint offers comprehensive and timely updates to help keep users covered.

Finally, as WJE continued its move from an on-premises environment to a fully cloud environment, the firm needed a backup tool with 100% reliability to support the transition and secure deliverables in M365.

“This solution provides our users with confidence and aids in promoting the value of a virtual environment,” Khan said.

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We really like the ease of use and the level of control that AvePoint Cloud Backup provides. We can set ground rules — maybe I don’t want a particular Team to be backed up, for example. Until now, that type of granularity was hard to find.

Gary Gregory
Chief Information Officer, WJE

The AvePoint Solution

AvePoint Cloud Backup, as WJE’s IT leaders discovered, was well suited to carry the torch.

Cloud Backup is a 100% SaaS solution that provides automated, comprehensive backup and restore services for M365, Salesforce, and Dynamics 365. It features built-in storage and encryption and offers flexible pricing plans based on the number of users or the amount of data.

WJE considered several backup services, and ultimately chose Cloud Backup to protect 3 TB of company data in M365.

“Once we made the decision, it was quick,” said Gregory, who, working with Khan and AvePoint support teams, deployed the solution in March 2021. “AvePoint has been a great partner in the transition.”

With AvePoint, backups are performed four times daily. Cloud Backup’s detailed reporting capabilities allow IT teams to address any issues that arise — no waiting and no uncertainty.

“Cloud Backup gives us email updates if something failed or if there’s something important we should know so that we can quickly check on things,” said Khan, who also praised the solution’s broad capabilities. “It provides backup for other Microsoft services, such as Planner, which other solutions don’t provide. Those components really make my life easier.”

WJE is also interested in adopting additional Cloud Backup capabilities, including delegated administration and the Ava chatbot, in the future.

For now, “we really like the ease of use and the level of control that AvePoint Cloud Backup provides,” said Gregory. “We can set ground rules — maybe I don’t want a particular Team to be backed up, for example. Until now, that type of granularity was hard to find.”

WJE teams have only had to recover one file via Cloud Backup, and the restore process was simple.

WJE has now turned to AvePoint for help with another project: migrating on-premises SharePoint portal data to SharePoint Online using AvePoint’s Migration as a Service (MaaS) solution.

MaaS is a full consultation and migration implementation service. AvePoint experts work with each customer’s scope and requirements to design and execute a thorough, phased migration plan that includes a discovery phase, comprehensive testing, and guided onboarding during the transition.

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The Road Ahead

Thanks to Cloud Backup, WJE can focus on digital transformation rather than the concern of lost data in M365. Granular yet easy-to-use settings and detailed reports allow IT teams to stay informed and react if needed.

“It’s a peace of mind thing,” said Gregory. “We’ve got plenty of other things to keep ourselves busy, so this is something that we have been able to check off and feel good about.”

AvePoint’s 24/7 customer service has provided key support for WJE, he added, noting that companies seeking a new or replacement backup solution should evaluate all interactions with potential providers.

“It really does come down to the people,” Gregory said. “Everyone at AvePoint was knowledgeable about the product and the different issues that we might face when putting the whole thing together. They genuinely wanted to see us succeed; that always came across loud and clear in our interactions.”

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