"We love Synology NAS' reliable services as much as its comprehensive, easy-to-use, and built-in backup functionalities. The cost-performance ratio is competitive as well: What more could we ask for?"
— Alex Wang, System Engineer at Interasia Lines MIS Department
Since 1967, Interasia Lines has built up a dependable network of ocean container shipping services throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including between Japan, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Thailand, and Korea. Interasia was at the forefront of the shipping industry's move towards containerization in the 1960s. The company continues to embrace both geographical expansion and innovation while providing dependable and high-quality services to their customers.
The company has long deployed Synology NAS as a file server and storage server solution for the company's financial systems. Using Synology systems, it has created a reliable infrastructure for more than 120 employees at their headquarters in Taipei.
The shipping industry has increasingly become the target of ransomware attacks. Leading shipping companies including CMA CGM, COSCO, MSC, and Maersk have over the past five years all fallen victim to malware attacks that have forced them to halt operations and cost hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and lost revenue. To ensure smooth business operations and fend off the threat of ransomware, Interasia Lines decided to implement an offsite backup infrastructure. However, as business expanded, Interasia's data grew as well: Finding a cost-efficient backup solution that could fit into the current IT infrastructure proved to be no easy task.
"The demand for freight shipping has escalated due to COVID-19. We needed to deploy offsite backups as quickly as possible to protect the exponentially increasing amount of critical business data," said Alex Wang, System Engineer in the MIS Department.
At first, the company considered just adding a physical server to host secondary backups. However, that would require additional dedicated space, which was not available at their headquarters, where the single server room was already operating at full capacity. The company did not have previous experience in renting server rooms, nor the time required to evaluate whether the various providers met the company standards.
In addition, other company locations did not have sufficient on-site IT professionals to implement and maintain hardware solutions independently, meaning that the IT team at headquarters would have to step in and provide support to multiple local offices if they were to implement new physical infrastructure.
After comparing several solutions, the team decided to address all their challenges at once with Synology's cloud storage solution, C2 Storage.
Using Synology's own C2 Storage as a remote off-site backup location enabled Interasia to quickly implement a solution that will help it recover from even worst-case ransomware attacks in a quick and efficient manner. Best of all, this could be done with their existing Synology hardware.
"We've been using Synology NAS for years now. We love its reliable services as much as its comprehensive, easy-to-use, and built-in backup functionalities," Wang said. "As soon as we found out that Synology's offering includes C2, a cloud backup solution, we decided to test-drive it."
Protecting critical data with 3-2-1 backup
For file services and financial systems running on Synology NAS, Interasia Lines relied on Snapshot Replication to create local backups in seconds and Hyper Backup to securely archive and deposit data onto other Synology units.
"Synology NAS comes with easy-to-use backup solutions out-of-the-box.Take Snapshot Replication, for example: Its interface is intuitive enough that most employees can restore data on their own, reducing the burden on IT administrators," Wang said. However, while highly efficient, a local backup strategy meant that those systems were still exposed to any threats that might affect the backup servers' physical integrity or the whole corporate network, particularly if administrative credentials were compromised.
Adding regular backups to C2 Storage has solved this issue by creating offsite copies with multi-versioning, which allowed the company to fully adhere to the 3-2-1 backup principle of having "at least three copies of data, in two different formats, with one of the backups stored offsite."
The combined strategy of having both local backups and using C2 Storage ensures full protection of mission-critical data, which can now quickly be accessed and restored even in the face of local network downtime, theft, or natural disaster.
"We set backups to Synology C2 and Snapshot Replication to run every hour, staggering backup tasks by half an hour to achieve an Recovery Point Objective (RPO) as short as 30 minutes," Wang said. "This setup has come in handy when several colleagues made edits to the same file within a short period," Wang added. "The resulting content was confusing and the team leader decided to restore the file to a previous version. We have the capability to do that within seconds, preventing the team members from having to start afresh and even having to wait for files to be recovered."
How Synology backup solution helps Interasia achieve 3-2-1 backup principle:
- 3 data copies: 1. Snapshot for Synology NAS（A）．2. Backup to another local NAS（B）．3. Synology C2（C）
- 2 media types: 1. Local Synology NAS（A、B）．2. Synology C2（C）
- 1 copy at the second site: Synology C2（C）
Comprehensive, and fast, backups
"Synology provides excellent backup efficiency. For our hourly backups at headquarters, Hyper Backup and C2 Storage completes the offsite backup within 12 minutes, even while more than 120 employees are editing different files."
C2 Storage's intuitive interface and simple operation have also positively impacted the efficiency of backup management.
And to top it all off, "C2 Storage is fast when restoring files," Wang said.
"We've been using Snapshot Replication for a while now, and it's significantly quicker at backing up and restoring than other solutions we have tried. It also has an intuitive interface, which further speeds up the restoration process."
A cost-efficient cloud-based solution
In the early stage of evaluating offsite solutions, Interasia Lines tested general cloud storage services such as Google and Dropbox. The results were favorable for C2 Storage backup, while the price proved very competitive.
"Based on the 3 TB data storage requirement at our headquarters, C2 Storage is more affordable than other cloud solutions," said Wang.
Another key factor in favor of C2 Storage was because of its native integration with Synology NAS applications. IT only needed to set a backup schedule once and automated task status notifications were easy to configure, reducing the IT workload.
"For data stored on Synology NAS, C2 is undoubtedly the best cloud backup solution," Wang said.
Central management simplifies IT
Beside their Taipei headquarters, Interasia's Kaohsiung and Taichung offices, as well as their overseas branches all use Synology NAS to provide file services. While in the past headquarters would often need to provide support to local offices, the latter are now almost completely independent.
"We're very satisfied with Synology's backup applications. We expect to continue to renew our C2 subscription and gradually expand deployment to cover additional data at our Japan, Singapore, India, and other branch offices."
- Hyper Backup: ease-to-use GUI simplifying IT workflow
- Snapshot Replication: excellent backup efficiency and intuitive restore portal for clients
- Synology C2: affordable Cloud off-site backup solution