Considering that charity: water sends workers with laptop computers to rural communities in 24 countries around the world, it’s not surprising that computer backup is needed on every computer they have. It’s so essential, in fact, that Matt Ward, System Administrator for charity: water, says it’s a standard part of employee on-boarding.

charity: water, based in New York City, is a non-profit organization that is working to bring clean water to the nearly one in ten people around the world who live without it, a situation that affects not only health, but education and income. The organization was founded in 2006 and has funded 24,537 projects in 24 countries, benefiting over 7.3 million people.
Matt Ward
Matt Ward, System Administrator for charity: water
“We have people constantly traveling all over the world, so a cloud-based service makes sense whether the user is in New York or Malawi. Most of our projects and beneficiaries are in Sub Saharan Africa and Southern/Southeast Asia, such as Ethiopia, Rwanda, Cambodia, and Nepal,”
Water Falling On Hands

To achieve their mission, charity: water works through implementing organizations on the ground in the countries where they work, with years of experience building sustainable, community-owned water projects. charity: water team members travel to the communities where safe water is scarce or distant and meet with their local partner organizations who are implementing the water projects. The people in these communities must spend hours every day walking to collect water for their families — a task typically done by women and children. It’s a losing proposition, as the time they spend walking takes away from education, earning money, and generally limits the opportunities for improving their lives. On top of that, the water often carries diseases that affect everyone in the community.

charity: water began using Backblaze for Business before Matt came on a year ago. They started with a few licenses, but quickly decided to deploy Backblaze to every computer in the organization.

“We’ve lost computers plenty of times,” he says, “but, because of Backblaze, there’s never been a case where we lost the computer’s data.” Matt explains that if a computer is lost he’ll even remotely wipe the computer knowing that all the data is safe in the Backblaze cloud. He immediately can deploy a replacement computer using the data restored from Backblaze or have the restore data ready to put back on the same computer after it’s been recovered or repaired. charity: water has about 80 staff computer users, and adds ten to twenty interns each season. Each staff member or intern has at least one computer. “Our IT department is two people, me and my director,” explains Matt, “and we have to support everyone, so being super simple to deploy is valuable to us.”

One of the frequent uses for Backblaze for Business is when Matt off-boards users, such as all the interns at the end of the season. He starts a restore through the Backblaze admin console even before he has the actual computer. “I know I have a reliable archive in the restore from Backblaze, and it’s easier than doing it directly from the laptop.” Matt is an enthusiastic user of the features designed for business users, especially Backblaze’s Groups feature, which has enabled charity: water to centralize billing and computer management for their worldwide team. Businesses can create groups to cluster job functions, employee locations, or any other criteria.

Pouring Water

Groups can be managed or unmanaged, with rules and privileges set at the Group level. charity: water uses managed Groups, which enables IT to act on behalf of any user and gives Matt the ability to create data restores for individual team members. Just as easily, Matt could create an unmanaged group, where IT would have no access to the individual computers. Businesses find this functionality useful for backing up departments with different data privacy requirements, such as HR. “It saves me time to be able to see the status of any user’s backups, such as the last time the data was backed up” explains Matt. Before Backblaze, charity: water was writing documentation for workers, hoping they would follow backup protocols. Now, Matt knows what’s going on in real time — a valuable feature when the laptops are dispersed around the world.
The ability to go back and select a previous version of a file is also a popular feature for Matt. “It’s really awesome to be able to restore a previous version of a file, say from 2pm the previous day. I show that to the user and they get it right away and are reassured that their work is saved.”
Kids Smiling
Matt says that charity: water is technically savvy. “We want to keep up on the latest tech trends for keeping data safe and using the cloud.”

Employees Working On Laptops

Matt says that they’re now looking at Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage, an object storage service. charity: water has a lot of digital assets like photos and videos that are prime candidates for a cloud service. He can serve this valuable content directly from B2 to websites and users. Matt says that they did a lot of research, and B2 Cloud Storage was one of the most recommended cloud storage services.

About Backblaze for Business

Backblaze for Business is automatic, unlimited, and secure cloud backup for laptop and desktop client systems in small and medium sized businesses. Costing as little as $x per year per computer for unlimited storage, Backblaze for Business provides a set-and-forget backup solution for users combined with flexible features for administrators such as Business Groups to simplify billing and user management.