Edinburgh-based Scottish Premiership football club Hibernian FC has taken a leap “into the 21st century” by signing a partnership with Acronis that will provide hybrid cloud backup, disaster recovery, secure file sync and data access.
The Acronis partnership will see a range of data protection solutions deployed where there was formerly almost nothing.
The move comes as the club embarks on a digitisation journey that aims to make a leap in the value it can gain from fan engagement as well as ensure it is protected with proper backup, disaster recovery and ransomware protection.
Hibs has around 100 users and something like 15TB of data to protect, but previous levels of protection were at a very low level and data was not easily findable.
Financials were run in Sage and ticketing in Ticketmaster, while staff used desktops and laptops synced to Sharepoint. Meanwhile, game footage – often dating back decades – was on DVDs, tapes and hard drives, and completely unsearchable.
“We are undergoing something of a digital transformation,” said finance director Chris Gaunt. “As things stood, to get historical information has been a struggle.”
“We want to engage with fans, for example, and if we want to get game footage, we want it in a central repository, not piecemeal, hoping to dig it up from a hard drive someone left in a corner.”
Also, said Gaunt, the club wants to engage with fans more efficiently than it has been able to before. “We want to sell to fans who haven’t been for five years, so we want to start building databases that we know will be secure and meet the needs of GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation],” he said.
Chris Gaunt, Hibernian FC
Ditto with Ticketmaster information. Previously, Gaunt’s team has been able to build databases from the data gained from sales, but lacked confidence that it would be well protected.
“We could do it,” said Gaunt, “but it would have been on someone’s computer and not necessarily secure.”
Also, said Gaunt, Hibernian was looking to insure itself against a ransomware attack, but was unable to answer the insurer’s questions about its data and how it was protected.
So the club has partnered with Acronis, via local service provider Dunedin IT. It now has daily backups on every PC with data held in a central repository.
“Previously, data was in random places,” said Gaunt. “So if it got lost, that was it – done for – and at a large cost to us.”
Hibernian’s staff are now also protected from phishing attacks by Acronis web filtering, and user machines are subject to regular security health checks.
Gaunt said it was not possible to quantify the benefits so far, but the value of being able to access data in a central repository and gain value from customer interaction, to use old game footage, and so on, was immeasurable.
Also, there is peace of mind in case of lost hardware.
“Before, if a laptop was left on a bus – with player budgets on it, for example – before it was put on Sharepoint, all that work would be lost, as well as potentially giving away confidential information,” said Gaunt.
“Now, with daily backups, we can get to information quickly and ensure we don’t lose it. It’s taking Hibs into the 21st century in terms of how we use and protect data.”