During tax season crunch, we needed to amend a return at the last minute... when the file was opened, it was corrupted! What could have been a disaster was painlessly averted in 10 minutes with Storage Guardian. Tax season is a bit less stressful with partners like Storage Guardian.Milo FarineauDirector of ITPRO-TAX
With 25 offices throughout Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee, PRO-TAX is committed to setting the standard for Quality, Service, Efficiency and Profitability by which all seasonal tax firms throughout the United States will measure themselves. PRO-TAX attributes its steady growth since 1973 to its customer pledge. Each PRO-TAX office maintains 2-6GB of critical data in a Windows operating environment with Broadband connection.
The challenge for PRO-TAX was to remain at the leading edge of technology to ensure that tax filing records are secured offsite in an encrypted format that protects the privacy of the customer yet ensures ready availability and access in the event of a server failure, local disaster, file corruption or data loss. This is critical year-round but more so during tax season when missed deadlines can result in increased fines and penalties. Tape backup was proving unreliable and costly.
Prior to using Storage Guardian for vaulting their critical data from all 25 offices, PRO-TAX backed up each office to tape. This legacy tape method created challenges. "We found that some backups failed to run when scheduled, or failed during the backup process. The worst cases were when the backup ran and posted as successful, but no data was on the tape at all!" said Milo Farineau, Director of Information Technology, at PRO-TAX.
PRO-TAX wanted a guarantee that their clients' data would be restorable 100% of the time in case of an emergency with minimal effort and time lapse. As part of their commitment to their customers, only a demonstration of Storage Guardian functionality would prove beyond a doubt that this solution was what was needed to meet their high standards.
To test a disaster scenario, PRO-TAX conducted a bare metal restore (BMR) test. PRO-TAX enacted that the Windows 2000 Server managing the backup/restore process at one remote office was damaged. With a single phone call to Storage Guardian to ensure security protocols, they were able to then restore the requested full backup from the backup service provider's vault to a new server.
PRO-TAX also needed to ensure adherence to compliance regulations without creating a drain on limited and valuable IT resources.
"Storage Guardian performed flawlessly and delivered phenomenal results. We restored the complete set of office files and data in minutes to bare metal," said Farineau. Bare metal restore is just one feature of the robust Storage Guardian backup/restore software that decided PRO-TAX to change from tape to disk-to-disk remote backup.
"Another feature that was key for quick start-up and implementation was the agentless software that did not require a license fee for each machine at each location that I wanted to protect. This just wasn't an option with any of the other companies I investigated. Since I didn't need to purchase agent licenses, I was able to see a significant return on investment on day one with the service," Farineau continued.
To meet compliance regulations, PRO-TAX uses a tax filing software company that keeps a copy of all the returns. The process of recovering that data, if needed from them, is tedious, takes a lot of time, and requires the entire database of returns for the year be restored to a location. In addition, reinstallation of the software and the custom information such as state tax rates for that particular office need to be recreated along with the recreation of user information for each tax preparer. "I wanted more control than that and for the files to be usable with less effort. Since the software at each office runs on the server and is contained in one folder, I could simply use Storage Guardian to backup data not just the returns, but the entire software folder with user data and the returns in it," Farineau explains.
In response to a recent data recovery experience that was not a drill, Farineau states, "During tax season crunch, we needed to amend a return at the last minute... when the file was opened, it was corrupted! What could have been a disaster was painlessly averted in 10 minutes with Storage Guardian. Tax season is a bit less stressful with partners like Storage Guardian."Back to case studies