UW School of Social Work

"Thanks to Active Backup for Business, all our backups are now centralized and available 24/7, which helps us minimize downtime and stay compliant with FERPA's regulations."

Robert Hendricks, Web and Server Systems Manager, UW School of Social Work

The Company

The University of Washington (UW) is a public research university in Seattle, Washington, United States. The university is among the best in the world, ranking eighth globally in 2021 and second among U.S. public institutions in 2019 by U.S. News & World Report.

The UW School of Social Work is one of the world's leading schools of social work and a hub for social innovation, placing third among 262 advanced social work degree programs in the United States. The School has an enrollment of more than 600 students in undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

The Challenge

Originally, the School of Social Work had a backup strategy in place for their servers, but there was no unified backup strategy for the majority of desktop workstations. This created major challenges for the School's IT staff whenever any data needed to be recovered.

In 2019, the School began searching for a new backup solution to secure the data stored across desktop and mobile devices owned by almost 300 faculty and staff members.

The School considered a cloud backup solution with unlimited data for their hundreds of users, but it was estimated that this would cost US$250,000 per year. To protect the privacy of confidential student and client information handled by the School, their new solution also had to be FERPA compliant, which eliminated many public cloud offerings.

The School needed a consolidated, centralized, and flexible backup solution that could be cost-effective, maintenance-free, and compliant.

The Solution

Web and Server Systems Manager for the School of Social Work, Robert Hendricks, searched for an alternative solution. He learned that Synology offers software to back up endpoints after using Synology for surveillance management and storage in a previous job.

After researching his options, Robert realized that investing US$6,000 to obtain Synology NAS and Active Backup for Business would achieve the same results as spending US$250,000 annually on services from a cloud backup provider.

The School purchased a DS3617xs that accommodates over 100TB in storage capacity. Leveraging their Active Directory along with preset templates per device type in Active Backup for Business, Robert installed the backup agent on roughly 200 devices at the School and instituted centralized backups.

The School also deployed a DS918+ unit to function as a Synology Drive server to enable collaboration with outside organizations.

The Benefits

Deploying a single Synology NAS has allowed the School of Social Work to implement a budget-friendly, centralized backup solution for hundreds of desktop endpoints throughout the department.

The School's IT team is now able to easily perform bare-metal restoration of PCs using Active Backup for Business. This turned out useful when a laptop was stolen. The IT staff minimized downtime during the restore process using Active Backup for Business' speedy backup and restoration of all the user's files.

The School also leveraged file sync and collaboration tools provided by Synology Drive. In some edge storage situations, contractors for the department were restricted from using popular cloud services, including Google Drive, One Drive, and Dropbox.

By using their DS918+ as a Synology Drive server, the School achieved a secure, on-premises solution enabling any external organization to smoothly collaborate and share sensitive research files.

"In this new hybrid work scenario, for all remote users and devices, it just works," said Hendricks.

Overall, Synology Active Backup for Business provided a comprehensive and flexible backup solution that saved the department tens of thousands of dollars and many hours of painstaking restoration and recovery, while Synology Drive made file sharing and collaboration simple and secure.

Recommended Models

  • DS3617xs
  • DS918+

Recommended Features

  • Active Backup for Business centralizes backup of 200 devices
  • Synology Drive allows for seamless collaboration between organizations
  • Synology solutions are FERPA compliant for confidential client information
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