PagerDuty

Leading IT Incident Response Organization Backs Up With Backblaze

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800+
Computers
Backed Up
100%
Successful
Restores
1,042%
Team
Growth

Situation

PagerDuty’s team mostly worked in the cloud, but at times still needed to use local applications. This meant that data loss was possible on any one of hundreds of employee machines. For a leading IT incident response platform, the level of risk was unacceptable.

Solution

Their IT manager resolved to seek a cloud backup solution that was both easy to adopt and manage, and he found Backblaze Business Backup. The service automatically scanned users’ workstations for any local data that needed backing up, and as the team rapidly scaled, the Groups functionality allowed the IT admins to efficiently grow their backup strategy.

Result

Every PagerDuty team members’ critical data is now backed up, and every restore they’ve needed has come through. The IT team rests easy knowing that every new machine they roll out is backing up automatically and continuously from day one. Instead of worrying about their own potential incidents, they can stay focused on priority one: serving their client organizations.

PagerDuty provides the leading digital operations management platform for businesses. Their SaaS platform allows organizations to proactively manage real-time IT operations and incident responses, and applies machine learning for event intelligence. In addition to on-call management, PagerDuty generates prescriptive analytics on business impact, team performance, operations health, and more, so that teams can minimize incidents and gain better insight into building their IT infrastructure for the future.

Ops A-Team Gains a New Member and New Understanding

The first thing that Matt Spring noticed when he joined PagerDuty as an IT Manager in 2013 was that the entire organization worked in the cloud. There were no file, database, or mail servers anywhere in the office. Spring’s impression was that everyone connected to the internet and used cloud-based applications from their own laptop or desktop system. This first glance suggested there would be a lot he wasn’t going to need to worry about.

But when he took a closer look, he discovered that many team members used Mac-based applications alongside their cloud workflows. While this meant that the majority of their work was secure, any local data wasn’t being backed up. As an IT manager for an organization that built a leading SaaS digital ops incident response platform, Spring knew that a lack of reliable backups could spell disaster for their service and their reputation.

Hatching a Plan of Attack

At the time, Matt only needed to triage backup on computers for the 70 staffers they employed at the time, but PagerDuty was scaling quickly so he knew the problem would only grow with every new hire. With this in mind, Spring wanted to roll out a backup solution as quickly as possible.

After surveying the organization, he landed on four key criteria. First, installation needed to be as fast as possible with little or no user involvement—a data loss event could strike at any moment, and he wanted to get ahead of that risk. Second, it needed to be automatic—everything should be backed up without any manual involvement on the employees’ part. The staff should be focused on their clients, not administering backups. Third, more broadly, he needed a solution that could grow with the organization without draining their staff resources or budget. And last, because they had a light on-premise footprint with no excess server space to speak of, it needed to be entirely cloud-based.

Bringing in Backup—Backblaze Business Backup, That Is

Whether they grew by another hundred or another thousand machines, the administration would easily scale.

As Spring compiled a list of possible cloud-based backup vendors, he included Backblaze from the outset. Spring appreciated Backblaze’s approach to transparency in their communications, like in the hard drive stats blog posts they shared each quarter. There certainly weren’t any other cloud storage services sharing their own drive reliability stats openly on the internet. He reached out to other providers, but he found that the Backblaze team was friendly and didn’t push him to buy before he had a chance to fully vet the service.

So Spring and his team installed Backblaze on a few computers and allowed it to scan their systems looking for data to back up. They didn’t need to sit there, picking and choosing folders and files for inclusion, the service just selected all local data. And they didn’t need to disrupt individual users either: Everyone was able to work on other projects simultaneously as Backblaze automatically found data to back up. It was a relief to find a tool that just worked.

As they moved forward with rolling out Backblaze Business Backup across the entire organization, they found that remote management for backups and restores was similarly simple. Whether they grew by another hundred or another thousand machines, the administration would easily scale.

IT First Responders Spring Into Action

It wasn’t long before Spring got a chance to test out Backblaze’s automatic backup feature. One user’s system crashed, taking with it several hours of work that they had forgotten to save. Spring was able to restore an Office auto recovery file from the backup of the data. “No other cloud backup system that I know of would have automatically backed up that file,” he noted. His fast implementation was already paying off.

When it comes to data loss, it’s never a question of “if” but rather “when.” Reassuringly, when users come to Spring with the need to recover data for one reason or another, the restores from Backblaze have been successful every time. And this isn’t only the case for individual files or folders—occasionally Spring and his team have had to do complete system restores to replace failed or lost systems. These, too, have succeeded without incident. The process is so easy that most users have found that when they need to, they’re able to restore their backup data on their own, freeing up Spring and his team to focus on the next challenge.

“No other cloud backup system that I know of would have automatically backed up that file.”

Matt Spring, IT Manager, PagerDuty

Battle Won! On to the Next...

As they hire new employees, Spring can send them a system with Backblaze Business Backup already installed, so the moment they start working, their data is already being backed up.

As the fleet of machines he’s responsible for has grown, Backblaze Business Backup’s Groups functionality provided Spring the flexibility he needed to administer backup for a diverse set of users and data. For example, the IT team uses Managed Groups to maintain stronger oversight of the restore process for contractors and interns. For full time staff, administrators set up Unmanaged Groups. Unmanaged Groups allow admins to oversee billing and support, while not being as hands-on with individual members’ data. This arrangement maintains ease of use for the employees while respecting their privacy. Both options feature access to the Backblaze Business Backup admin console where the IT team can manage licenses and see backup stats for each user.

Since PagerDuty first installed Business Backup in 2014, they have grown to back up over 800 computers. The organization is more and more dispersed, with even more employees and contractors spread out internationally. As they hire new employees, Spring can send them a system with Backblaze Business Backup already installed, so the moment they start working, their data is already being backed up.

While they continue to help other IT teams reduce and learn from incidents, one thing the PagerDuty IT team doesn’t have to worry about is knowing that the data on their company computers is automatically and securely backed up.

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.