Hong Kong-based construction group scales new heights in data governance of endpoint devices with Druva inSync
September/October, 2014 | ComputerWorld
As a leading contractor in Hong Kong, it is customary at Gammon Construction Limited to move vast amounts of information during its daily operations.
“Exchanging and sharing large files is the way of life in a construction company. We have large files that move internally across the organization which are then shared externally with architects and consultants working on various projects,” said Horace Chu, Head of Information Management Services at Gammon.
In its 56-year history, Gammon has built an impressive portfolio of projects from residential and commercial buildings, roads and bridges, and railway tunnels to name a few.
With an annual turnover of US$1.5 billion, its geographic reach spans Hong Kong, Mainland China, Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia, employing more than 8,000 people.
In Hong Kong, recent projects include the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link – Southern Connection Viaduct Section, the MTR Shatin to Central Link – Hunghom North Approach Tunnels and the mixeduse Hysan Place in Causeway Bay among others.
In previous decades, Gammon relied heavily on email – which was subsequently followed by document management systems – to facilitate and manage information flow within the organization and beyond.
The advent of mobility with the mass adoption of smartphones, tablets and other form factors and their increased use in the workplace in recent years has led the company to support the disruptive technologies that emerged with the rise of mobile devices.
Two years ago, Gammon started developing its own proprietary mobile apps such as one now being used by its job foremen and engineers for safety checks.
“The consumerization of IT also emerged around this time and some of our end users had started using cloud-based consumer apps that may not be particularly secure,” recalled Chu.
“According to Ponemon Institute, only 16% of IT pros say they know how much regulated data resides in cloud-based file sharing applications,” said Andy Lau, Chief Executive Officer of The I-Consulting Group (ICG). “Interestingly, only 28% of CIOs believe their mobile security policies would satisfy an auditor.”
Aware of its end users’ needs yet worried about data security, Gammon developed its own in-house private cloud app that allows large file transfer
“Most of these documents are very important and some of them are confidential which will create a lot of negative impact if they are leaked to third parties,” Chu said.
He added, “This makes proper data governance important because we do not want to lose our information – in the real sense of losing it or have it land in wrong hands.”
“An endpoint data management solution is delivering more than US$8,100 per user per year in cost savings and productivity improvements”
– Andy Lau, ICG
“The risks of losing information and having information leaked out to unauthorized parties are matters of great concern”
– Horace Chu, Gammon Construction
Governance at the endpoint
With an eye out on improving its existing systems, Gammon last year started looking around for a enterprise-class endpoint solution that delivers not only the secure file-sharing feature of its in-house app but also the much needed data protection.
“We always explore new ways to improve our services. This is an ongoing effort – to adjust and refine how we address the needs that we have identified,” Chu said.
As the march towards mobility and dynamic information sharing continues unchecked coupled with the latest developments in intrusion technologies, the company felt the urgent need to step up its game in data governance of endpoint devices.
“The risks of losing information and having information leaked out to unauthorized parties are matters of great concern,” Chu explained.
In the last 12 months, Gammon looked around for endpoint solutions that could deliver the following capabilities:
• Endpoint Backup with data loss prevention – the software must be able to perform automatic and intelligent backup for all the devices that may only connect intermittently to the network. And considering the large volumes of data, backups need to be very intelligent such that it does not consume too much network bandwidth, too much CPU power or too much battery life as end users are really only using mobile devices.
• Enterprise-class Sharing with data governance – encryptions when the files are being stored and transferred are basic. More sophisticated features are needed, such as defining specifically who can access the files, what can they do with them and when can the files be accessed. It should also be able provide a history trail that allows you to see where the files have gone Furthermore, Gammon required functions that can help manage the data lifecycle.
Chu pointed out that all documents – correspondences, technical drawings and models – about each project need to be adequately stored and “searchable” for many years even after the job is completed.
“We need software that can help us through the data lifecycle from start to finish. I believe this certainly belongs to data governance, and with the increasing reliance on endpoint devices, this should also be considered for endpoint data governance.”
According to the report“Quantifying the Value of Unified Endpoint Data Management”by Ponemon, an endpoint data management solution that integrates endpoint backup with data loss prevention, secure file sharing and data analytics is delivering more than US$8,100 per user per year in cost savings and productivity improvements, noted Lau at ICG.
Going with Druva inSync
Gammon had shortlisted at least six endpoint solutions during its year-long search with the help of ICG.
“We looked at each product very diligently comparing them across a range of metrics: what functions they provide, price, how robust is it, security, etc. We have composed a whole metrics of comparison in order to get the right fit to our requirements,” Chu said.
At the end of the vetting process, Druva inSync, which Gartner has ranked as the number one enterprise endpoint backup solution two years in a row among 11 products, was selected by Gammon Construction.
“Druva inSync has a wide range of functions that covers our needs on endpoint data governance,” Chu said.
Also a big factor in the company’s choice is the user experience.
“It counts a lot. We need a product that is extremely easy for people to use otherwise users will switch to similar consumer app. And Druva inSync is designed with simplicity for ease-of-use.”
Balancing control and choice
Chu added: “The challenge that we have even before this project is the consumerization of IT. By this we mean people will deviate and use something else regardless whether you are providing this solution. That is the major challenge because you want to centralize information with management control and security protection.”
“Our initial feedback from end users about Druva inSync is that it is not just only easy to use, but it is also very convenient. When you are working remotely, you don’t even need to initiate a file transfer, you can instantly see all your different files, folders in all of your devices,” added Chu.
Moreover, the Gammon team was impressed with professional and proactive attitude shown by ICG, Druva inSync value-added reseller in Asia, during setting up of the evaluation environment at company’s premises.
“It is also important that products, particularly relatively new ones such as Druva inSync, have a good representative locally. For a lot of these products, you would need closer technical support and all the rest to help you implement and maintain. It will be even more important when you have rolled out to end users. You don’t want to have any downtime. Technical support becomes critical and you have to have a trustworthy partner locally who can provide this when needed,” Chu said. “ICG does that very well.”
With the decision made, Druva inSync was implemented at Gammon Construction within two months and was rolled out in July.
Anticipating more advances in mobility and the cloud particularly in the way they enhance people’s online experience, switching to an enterprise-class solution like Druva inSync was deemed a wise move.
Keeping pace with technological innovations in this field is what makes Druva inSync a top player in the field of endpoint solutions.
According to Lau, the creators behind Druva have raised US$70 million up to today to come out with this best in class product. Within 6 years, Druva has grown from a small company to an enterprises with over 2.8 million endpoints using Druva among 3,000 customers including PwC, KPMG, Deloitte, Pfizer, and Dell in 75 countries.
“Druva has the economy of scale to deliver a full enterpriseclass endpoint solution – something that many companies cannot do with proprietary software given their finite budget on in-house IT development,” said Lau. “This has helped Gammon to centralize the control of the endpoint devices, provide IT visibility into sensitive corporate data and reclaim lost productivity.”