NetGovern

Distributing IT Responsibilities While Instilling a Culture of Resilience

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Roland Gaspar, IT Director, NetGovern

“In terms of ease of deployment and the simplicity of the whole experience—from downloading the software, to enabling the service, to requesting the restore—all of that just works with Backblaze.”

Situation

In 2018, NetGovern, an information governance company, implemented a progressive “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policy. Employees choose a laptop; NetGovern buys it. After six months, it becomes theirs to keep. Functionally, the policy worked, but Founder and CEO, Pierre Chamberland, discovered critical company data was not being backed up.

Solution

To make the low-touch, high-trust BYOD policy successful, Chamberland provided Backblaze Business Backup licenses to each employee, using its Backblaze Groups functionality to manage the seats. Team members playfully took to calling this “Bring Your Own Backblaze”—and yes, BYOBB—because they could easily apply the service themselves as opposed to taking on onerous, IT-driven backup responsibilities.

Result

For less than NetGovern’s monthly coffee budget, Chamberland can afford to ensure that essential business data is backed up and his employees have a security mindset, effectively eliminating the need for burdensome, centralized IT in the process. Losing data is no longer an acceptable excuse for project delays, and employees are empowered to take responsibility for both company and personal data security.

illustration of computer, NAS, compliance document and gavel

All images provided by NetGovern

NetGovern logo

NetGovern was founded in 2001 with the idea that information is a precious asset that must be protected. 19 years later, NetGovern's information archiving and governance software helps mid-sized organizations solve data compliance, safeguard personal information, simplify eDiscovery, and protect their reputation. Based in Montreal, Canada, they provide a comprehensive suite of solutions to help businesses manage all their unstructured data—including email, text, documents, and more.

How BYOB Became BYOBB—“Bring Your Own Backblaze”

Somewhere between gates A4 and A66 in the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Pierre Chamberland froze in utter panic. He’d left his laptop on the plane. With 20 minutes before his connection, he weighed his options: go back for the laptop and miss his flight, or leave it behind and make it to a client meeting on time.

“I decided the odds were against me getting back on the plane,” Chamberland said. And, sadly, the computer was never located: “My bright, shiny object never made it to lost and found.” He bought a new laptop and ordered a USB restore from Backblaze as soon as he landed. As a longtime Personal Backup customer, “that was the moment Backblaze resurrected all my content for me. I’ve been convinced of the utility ever since,” he professed.

Backblaze saved Chamberland from data loss, so when he decided to roll out an innovative device policy at NetGovern—an information governance software company he founded—he looked to Backblaze Business Backup to harden the plan’s resilience.

NetGoven management

You’re Invited, BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”)

In 2018, Chamberland and his executive team realized managing employee laptops and mobile phones no longer created value. As a small company with around 80 employees, the overhead, provisioning, and administrative burden on IT outweighed the benefits.

“We decided to get rid of central IT, period. We moved all our development operations and core business apps to the cloud,” NetGovern IT Director, Roland Gaspar, explained.

The company introduced a “Bring Your Own Device” or BYOD program where employees choose the device they want within a given budget. After six months, they own the device. Gaspar spelled out the philosophy: “There’s no separation between personal and business use. It’s your device. By default, you’ll use it for personal reasons. You’re giving us the privilege of using your personal device for work.”

The new policy conferred some immediate benefits. By shifting responsibility for the device to employees, the company no longer managed a host of IT functions—maintenance, support, planning. It also eased HR decisions. “If we’re hiring people who don’t know how to purchase a laptop, get online, and log in to our applications, well, we were probably hiring the wrong people,” Chamberland said.

“We decided to get rid of central IT, period. We moved all our development operations and core business apps to the cloud.”

Roland Gaspar, IT Director, NetGovern

diagram of NetGoven information flow via XML files

Party Foul: Not Backing Up Your Data

“We wanted a directory where we managed users, and that was it. We didn’t want an active directory, global policy objects, or login scripts. We didn’t want to touch the devices at all.”

Roland Gaspar, IT Director, NetGovern

NetGovern uses Microsoft OneDrive as its central storage and file-sharing platform. From their personal devices, employees simply log in and access NetGovern’s files from anywhere.

“We wanted a directory where we managed users, and that was it,” Gaspar explained. “We didn’t want an active directory, global policy objects, or login scripts. We didn’t want to touch the devices at all.” OneDrive’s flexibility made the BYOD policy viable but came at the expense of uncertainty about data security—it’s not a true backup.

Chamberland decided to audit the BYOD program. “My ‘Spidey sense’ suspected we were not as good as we thought we were,” he said. He figured there was work-related content on local devices not saved on OneDrive, and he was right. Only 20% of their employees backed up their devices. “In the event of a catastrophe, they could lose hours to potentially weeks of work,” Chamberland contended. They needed a way to safeguard company data without implementing high-touch security protocols for the BYOD policy to function.

Pierre Chamberland NetGovern

Rain or Shine: Protecting Company Information

To defend against data loss on BYOD devices, NetGovern added a BYOB policy—”Bring Your Own Backup.” “Then, it became a bit of an inside joke,” Chamberland said. “Instead of BYOB, it became BYOBB—’Bring Your Own Backblaze.’ And we would pay for it.”

Chamberland offered a Backblaze Business Backup license to each employee. “We made no distinction between personal and business data. Fundamentally, we’re backing up the whole device,” he explained. If employees save locally for whatever reason—ease, habit, slow internet connections—everything on their computer will be recoverable.

He also offered each employee a Backblaze Personal Backup license for their home devices, courtesy of NetGovern. He reasoned, “If an employee gets hacked or attacked by ransomware, we know the destruction in their personal life will bleed over into their work life.”

At just $60 per year per device, Chamberland never questioned the decision. “It’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind of our employees. In terms of our HR benefits, it’s a rounding error. It’s way under our coffee budget—I can tell you that,” he remarked.

Beyond the significant cost savings realized by moving from a CapEx to an OpEx philosophy—eliminating the need to deploy costly on-premises hardware and using valuable IT staff time on maintenance—Chamberland and Gaspar value Backblaze for its ease of use. “It’s such a simple product, and that’s a reflection of the authenticity of purpose Backblaze was built with,” Chamberland said. Gaspar added, “We could find comparably priced backup services, but in terms of ease of deployment and the simplicity of the whole experience—from downloading the software, to enabling the service, to requesting the restore—all of that just works with Backblaze.”

“It’s such a simple product, and that’s a reflection of the authenticity of purpose Backblaze was built with.”

Pierre Chamberland, Founder & CEO, NetGovern

NetGovern staff

A Comfortable Seating Plan: Using Backblaze Groups

“Employees are achieving the necessary business objectives of not losing data and being cyber-resilient both financially and behaviorally.”

Pierre Chamberland, Founder & CEO, NetGovern

Internally, Chamberland faced some pushback to the novel program. Employees naturally worried about the company accessing their personal data or restoring devices without their knowledge.

To address that concern, NetGovern implemented Backblaze Groups. They assigned BYOD devices to an Unmanaged Group where NetGovern only handles billing and payment. Then, they instituted a policy that requires employee approval to restore the device. For server devices and shared workstations used by their development operations staff, they continued using a Managed Group to ensure that those key devices could be restored by the business at any time.

Groups allowed NetGovern to employ a low-touch IT approach while still ensuring data security. Chamberland explained, “If we had done it a more traditional way, we would have needed automated login scripts, monitoring, and reporting. We didn’t want that. Employees are achieving the necessary business objectives of not losing data and being cyber-resilient both financially and behaviorally.”

The Life of the Party: A Culture of Resilience

By giving employees the benefit of choice when it comes to their devices and educating them about data backup best practices, NetGovern instills a culture of resilience that supports both employees and the company. “We raised awareness inside of the organization personally,” Chamberland said. “We trust our employees to buy and provision the right device, and we made it clear that ‘I lost my data’ is no longer an acceptable excuse.”

For less than the cost of coffee, Backblaze Business Backup allows NetGovern to employ a flexible, forward-thinking device policy that improves IT efficiency while ensuring company data resilience.

If traditional device management were a seven course, sit-down dinner for 12, NetGovern’s approach is a backyard BYOB BBQ, proving that a lean philosophy supported by cool benefits and playful acronyms can change the whole culture of an organization.

About Backblaze

Backblaze’s Business Backup is a truly unlimited backup service to help you protect workstation data for just $60 per year per computer. Purpose-built by cloud storage experts with over one exabyte of customer data under management and over 50 billion files recovered, the service is easy to deploy across your organization and easier still to manage your team's backups, restores, and billing in one place. With a free 15-day evaluation, you can install Backblaze and begin protecting your business data today.