Greater Anglia has chosen iland Secure Cloud Backup for Veeam Cloud Connect and iland Secure Cloud Backup for Microsoft 365 to protect its recent infrastructure investments and as an initial step in its long-term cloud strategy.
Greater Anglia is a major train operating company (TOC) in the UK, offering commuter and intercity services at 133 stations across the region. Greater Anglia’s rail network ranges from its Central London terminus, Liverpool Street station, to Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, parts of Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire and throughout the East of England. In 2021, the company was named “Train Operator of the Year” at the Rail Business Awards for the second consecutive time due, in part, to record levels of improvement in train punctuality, a new fleet that greatly benefited the customer experience, station upgrades and ticketing initiatives. It has also been awarded a Gold Accreditation through the IdeasUK Innovation Assessment.
Greater Anglia’s cloud journey, according to Himesh Patel, head of IT service delivery, began with two massive investments. First, the company decided to replace its entire fleet. The new, state-of-the-art trains are due for completion at the end of 2021 — an unprecedented feat in terms of scale. Second, it decided to upgrade its wide area network, which was low-bandwidth and couldn’t allow for cross file sharing. Both were vast undertakings, which required a lot of IT strategy and preparation. During that process of evaluation and innovation, Himesh saw an opportunity to transition to the cloud and seized it.
“Our new trains are deploying more modern technology and infrastructure, which meant we had a lot of legacy applications that were defunct when the new applications came in. From there, we began looking to push a lot of applications either to the cloud or to suppliers in their own cloud environments,” said Himesh.
The company’s first steps to the cloud began with a mandate to secure its investment in Microsoft 365, including OneDrive, Teams and SharePoint — an upgrade that coincided with the new network. Himesh and his team knew full well that Microsoft offered little in terms of backup protection and to make matters worse, malicious attacks, like malware, ransomware and phishing, were on the rise.
Himesh selected iland Secure Cloud Backup for Microsoft 365 and iland Secure Cloud Backup for Veeam Cloud Connect to address those concerns. With iland and Veeam, an industry leader in backup solutions, Greater Anglia could protect its critical data from internal and external cybersecurity threats and reduce the total cost of data protection and retention, while also moving its overall backup strategy toward the cloud and away from outdated technologies like physical tape.
“iland Secure Cloud Backup is an elegant solution, particularly because of its integration with Veeam. The overall solutions architecture is what we were looking for — something we can certainly build on in the future,” said Himesh.
Himesh continued: "All the conversations we've had with the iland team have been very transparent, very up front. There's been nothing hidden in the whole process. Our requirements were listened to and were factored in. The most important thing for us is building a partnership with a reliable provider. We're not in it for the short term, it's a long-term partnership.”
“At iland, we strive to form long-lasting customer partnerships with the goal of crafting cloud strategies that address their immediate needs, while also planning for the future. We’re proud to consider Great Anglia such a partner as well as one of the more innovative and forward-thinking companies we’ve had the pleasure of working with,” said Johnny Carpenter, vice president sales for EMEA. “With iland Secure Cloud Backup for Veeam and Secure Cloud Backup for Microsoft 365, Greater Anglia has been able to seamlessly transition away from legacy hardware, ensure the protection of its network investments and implement the resources and proven technology necessary to succeed on its transition to the cloud.”
Before partnering with iland, Greater Anglia had been backing up its mission-critical applications on premises via backup-to-tape, a technology that would not provide the flexibility and scalability the company needed as its business grew. Between the time, energy and resources spent on non-innovative maintenance, like replacing and storing old tapes, Himesh and his lean, 10-person IT team also had less time to further business objectives.
With the move to the iland’s cloud backup, however, valuable IT resources could be freed up to help the business complete more profitable business objectives, like rolling out the new trains, IT infrastructure and associated applications, wide area network, and new customer information screens at each station.
“From a strategy point of view, I think cloud backup is excellent,” said Himesh. “It just moves everything up and out, removing our responsibility onsite. It will allow us to remove a lot of legacy hardware eventually.”
According to Himesh, the company’s latest innovations, especially its move to the cloud with iland Secure Cloud Backup, are just the beginning. Though they started off small, he said they’ve already started internal discussions about migrating everything to the cloud with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) on iland Secure Cloud. He’s looking forward to being able to utilise modern platforms to leverage economies of scale and drive cost efficiencies.
“We’re committed to going through that cloud journey. Right now, we’re trying to tick the right boxes in terms of the sort of people we want to do business with and have long term business relationships with,” said Himesh. “iland fits that bill."